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A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal

I find this too frustrating not to point out…so I’m posting a letter to the editor from the Director of Mizna (whose site I am the web master of), regarding this week’s City Pages cover story:

To the editor,
I find it quite ironic and telling that you would print this extended cover story of “scary Arabs” in Minnesota, yet continue to ignore the story of the local Arab community which is rich and full of artists, scholars, and hard working people of all walks of life. Your story coming out on July 4th weekend furthers the insult in creating an “us” vs. “them”. In fact, our local community organization Mizna is a forerunner in the country in Arab American artistic and literary expression. Yet, Mizna has been battling with the City Pages for two years now to get you to cover or even list our events accurately or timely. In addition to producing the only journal of Arab American literature in the country, in the past few months alone we have presented several ground breaking well attended events which you have ignored or mislisted. On March 13 we hosted international oud virtuouso Simon Shaheen (whom you mislisted), on March 27 we brought in Def Poetry Jam superstar Suheir Hammad (this event you did not print at all), and from June 3 - 13 we produced the play With Love from Ramallah and you did not mention it in your paper until the second week of the run. In each instance, we were either not listed, mislisted or given barely a write up. Yet, your story of the scary Arabs in Rochester gets an indepth cover story with stereotypical observations of Arabs, interviews with people who do not understand the culture, a limited and stereotypical look at the topic, and no interviews with local Arabs whatsoever.  How are you different from Fox News??

Kathryn Haddad
Executive Director

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Sigh.