rn: “Fear not the path of truth…”


Jan Slakov

Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 18:17:41 -0700
From: David Morgan <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Iraq, Albright, Rafeedie, and the UC Berkeley Graduation.

This is so good. It is inspirational. I have a huge lump in my throat from
reading this. What a courageous young women!!!
I'd like to shake her hand.

Return-path: <•••@••.•••> 
>From: •••@••.•••
>Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 13:35:48 EDT
>Subject: Iraq, Albright, Rafeedie, and the UC Berkeley Graduation.
>To: •••@••.•••
>Some of you may have heard about Fadia Rafeedie, a young Palestinian woman 
>who, as something like the valedictorian of her class, spoke at UC
>graduation last week.   You may also have heard that the keynote speaker for 
>the convocation was Madaleine Albright.  Albright's speech was interupted
>many different flavors of protests on everything from Columbia to Iraq.  
>Below is Fadia's explanation of what happened,  and the transcript of her 
>impromtu speech. 
>I think her bravery and poise are inspiring.
>From: Fadia Rafeedie  
>Subject: Transcription of convocation address  
>Dear Friends, 
>I've been wanting to extend my thanks to everyone (Sawsan, Ali, Rania, Wael, 
>Nader, Zahi, Randa, Nabella, Kathy, Sherry, Rima, and everyone else) for 
>supporting me before and after Berkeley's convocation last Wednesday
>"featuring" the so-called "Keynote Speaker of the Millennium, Madeleine 
>Albright." Things have been so crazy, though! I've been on a mission to 
>respond to every single email that pops into my inbox about what happened, 
>but the task is so exciting and overwhelming at once, that I decided to
>it alone for a while so that I could submit a more impersonal but 
>comprehensive 'report.'
>Below I've included my meandering address, which, when transcribed, sounds 
>superficial and poorly organized. (It was.) I'll narrate the succession of 
>events, which I think reads like a drama, and within it I outline some of
>the reasons why I think that Wednesday was a collective victory for the 
>forces of opposition against the Iraqi sanctions in particular, and the Arab 
>community - in solidarity with the Left in this country - more generally. 
>First, even for the people who were at the Greek Theatre that afternoon in 
>the blinding sun, you cannot *imagine* what the audience looked like from
>vantage point on stage. It was like fireworks! The images are imprinted in
>head forever. 
>At the moment when the administrators announced, after we were all sitting
>stage, that they'd change the schedule around so that Albright spoke first 
>and not last, I knew that the "powers that be" were frightened of what was
>come - embarrassment and exposure to a woman whose
>administration and policies deserve it. 
>As soon as she stood up on the thick block at the foot of the podium to
>the microphone, a 15-foot bright red and black banner - signature of the 
>International Socialist Organization --  unfurled itself in the distance, 
>directly across from her in the center of the theatre, with the clearly 
>written slogan, "Madeleine Albright is a War criminal." 
>Then, in unison, hundreds of voices (or at least they sounded like it), 
>interrupted her before she could begin, with chants of "end the sanctions 
>now! end the sanctions now!" 
>The 'security' forces, dressed in loud yellow jackets, were quick to rip
>every poster that surfaced in the crowd and escort the protesters outside of 
>the theatre, but there was NO WAY to get at all of them. As I said, it was 
>like fireworks! 
>When the red banner went down, another one to the left of the crowd flew up 
>about the situation in Columbia.  Then the officers tore that one down, 
>dragged out the audience, and scanned the crowd for the sources of the 
>consistent cries of protest. 
>Albright was stumbling and bumbling through her speech there was no way that 
>anyone was listening to her babble about stopping war criminals in Kosovo, 
>preventing the "buying and selling of human beings" in Latin America, 
>achieving so much as a Secretary of State wearing a skirt, etc. etc. etc.  
>There were just too many people screaming out that she
>was a war criminal, that she was occluding any mention of Iraq, and that she 
>was a liar.  The hypocrisy laden in every sentence she uttered was truly 
>unbearable to have to endure, especially since I was caught off guard about 
>having to speak after and not before her, as is tradition at Berkeley. 
>She tried - successfully, unfortunately - to win the audience to her side, 
>but I'm convinced that they supported her more out of nationalistic fervor
>response to a group of what they perceived as disruptive and 'foreign' 
>objectors than because she was actually convincing or inspiring.   Anyone, 
>even a Nazi, I would argue, would have garnered support from the audience, 
>because it was incredible how successful the protesters were in silencing 
>So after the Columbia banner went down, another one spread itself out in a 
>different part of the theatre about how she's supporting imperialism. There 
>was still more chanting, heckling, and booing. 
>From the distance, one protester wearing a conspicuous red shirt completely 
>shut off all movement in his body, forcing the officers to drag him -
>awkwardly, and painfully - down a long, long isle of stairs to the left of 
>the theatre. No one at that point was even looking at Albright. They were 
>watching this poor guy's body slouch in the distance, his head buried in his 
>chest and his shoulders extending over his ears as his arms were flailing. 
>Right from the start, two of my friends from ADC-SF, Eyad and Senan, were 
>'escorted' out. They both looked at me from the distance as they left, and I 
>was fuming. Part of me wanted to just get up and leave with them so as not
>dignify what this woman was saying while I was sharing the stage with her.  
>But I knew that a spoken statement would have more effect. I decided then 
>that the best thing to do, despite the fact that she was going to flee on
>broomstick before she had a chance to hear me speak,
>was to deliver an impromptu address since my original speech was now 
>obsolete. In any case, after seeing all that, there was no way I was going
>rattle off about how much I loved my brother Ramiz, how grateful I was to my 
>parents, how I wished my grandmothers a happy mother's day, how we were 
>leaders of the future, etc. etc even though all of that would have been, and 
>was intended to be, appropriately delivered under the expected
>It was a true pleasure to hear (or actually, not) the rest of Albright's 
>speech, because just when I thought all the protesters were ejected, another 
>group would whip out their own banner, unfurl it, and start chanting. Their 
>resources seemed inexhaustible. By no means was her address uninterrupted at 
>any stage of the game. 
>I know that Berkeley had a Madeleine Albright Unwelcoming Committee website 
>and meeting the week before the event, but my understanding was that it was 
>disorganized and a bit splintered. The activists there decided to just work 
>independently of each other, and I think that was - in some
>ways - their strength. The message of opposition was the same, but the
>slogans, posters, and styles were all different. It worked out to be a 
>symphony of voices of dissent, and in some ways, I was happy to see the 
>disgruntled audience members exasperated at what they saw as another 
>"Berkeley spectacle." As I said before, the support they gave to Albright 
>came more out of sympathy for her and respect for a national symbol than out 
>of any true understanding of what she stood for. 
>The loud condemnation continued to the very end of her hackneyed speech, but 
>she received a standing ovation nonetheless. Happy with her victory (which 
>was in some ways a great PR stunt for her), she descended from the block at 
>the foot of the podium, turned to the students and faculty
>sitting (actually, now standing) most near her, and smiled as she shook each 
>of their hands in self-congratulation. She was going in a row until she got 
>to me. I stayed sitting,  my hands clasped in my lap, and gave her a
>angry look. Her smile turned into the frown of scorn which she
>wears more naturally, then she withdrew her hand, and turned around to walk 
>away. "Insirfi," I thought to myself. 
>[I had been asked by university administrators a day earlier to meet with
>for a half hour before the ceremony. I told them that I'd prefer not to, and 
>I told them that if I was in any photo opportunity with her, it would be a 
>result of the fact that we were merely sharing a stage together as mutual 
>honorees. I was not intending on shaking her hand, only to be captured and 
>coopted by a photographer. They didn't press me to comply either way.] 
>Okay, then she left abruptly, briskly, and riding a wave of glee from INSIDE 
>the theatre. Outside, with the well-mobilized protesters who'd been there
>hours before her clandestine arrival - and here's the greatest victory of
>- she had to leave sprawled across the back seat of her car
>like the criminal that she is, ducking for her life, and dashing off into
>Things quieted down a bit after that. We heard two more speeches - one of 
>which was especially light and funny - but I enjoyed neither.  Three of my 
>friends were gone, and my family was looking painfully at me in the
>It's true that my moment was hijacked by the university administration and 
>the secret service.  I had worked so, so hard on my speech You wouldn't 
>believe how much help and support I got. It was a true learning experience, 
>but at the same time, I was ambushed. 
>Rania Masri was emailing me articles and tips nearly every day towards the 
>end; my friends with the ADC-SF chapter had a special meeting where they all 
>contributed their thoughts and opinions about style, content, tone, etc.
in a 
>roundtable discussion; and Eyad and Emily Kishawi - to whom I am most 
>grateful and indebted - stayed up very late nights with me figuring out the 
>best approach that got my political AND personal message across in a way
>reflected my personality without compromising the more important and broad 
>political message. (We used Iraq Under Seige as a
>great resource, so thanks Rania and Ali!) My poor parents, brothers, and 
>sisters watched me flip-flop and agonize for weeks - just as I had been 
>finishing up my senior thesis, too - about the right way to frame what I 
>wanted to say so that I would achieve a three-point goal that would: 1.
>Address my class honorably, not just as a way to earn legitimacy before I 
>launched into a myopic discussion about politics, but because I truly was 
>grateful to Berkeley and held (hold) affection for my class.  My speech was 
>certainly not going to be a reaction to Albright, and in it I had
>included the story of my uncle's imprisonment in the Zionist jails, and how 
>we were graduating together this summer, etc. etc. 2. Educate my class and 
>the general public about what's happening in Iraq, hopefully with the ripple 
>effect that the media's presence would provide; and 3. Confront Albright
as a 
>symbol of power and try to emulate, though the circumstances were much 
>different, the sensational and inspiring event at Ohio State where she was 
>caught off-guard and humiliated for being, again, the criminal that she 
>really is.
>I had wanted to ask for help from this list and another one, but I honestly 
>think that the flood of opinions would have confused me even more.
Besides, I 
>was a bit paranoid that I was going to somehow be prevented from speaking. 
>The university, also unlike custom, never released a public statement about 
>my speaking at commencement. They kept saying that I was going to "share the 
>stage" with her. Only a sensationalist journalist at a local paper seemed to 
>make public that the University Medalist was really the antithesis of what 
>Albright stood for.
>However, he was just after a news story. What he did was talk about me, then 
>talk about her, and then quote some law professor at Berkeley who said that 
>you couldn't have chosen more polar forces than this even if you were
>a play.  He said that the lineup was the kind of thing to make "officialdom 
>shudder" and that I was a "rebel with a cause." This was all without my 
>mentioning a word about the plans I had for my speech.  I myself didn't have 
>a clear idea of what my speech was going to be, particularly since I was 
>working on it literally until the last minute.
>I should say that Ibrahim Alloush gave me a piece of advice that proved 
>prophetic for what was going to ensue later. He said, "you don't have to
>and rave to be a good revolutionary, even though that is absolutely
>I don't - by any stretch of the imagination - take credit for the turn of 
>events at convocation on Wednesday.  They probably wanted her out of there
>quick as possible to circumvent the flurry of stunts that audience members 
>had planned. (The longer she stayed, the more protracted the
>embarrassment, I think.) That the movement of resistance was successful in 
>subverting an entire program and turning it on its head is in itself a 
>Still, it's significant to note that the materials I had submitted to the 
>Committee on Prizes when I was competing for the medal were unequivocally 
>pro-Palestinian, anti-sanctions, anti-Oslo, etc. etc. They chose Albright to 
>be our commencement speaker precisely the day before they chose me to be the 
>Medalist. I'm not even sure the 8-person committee, which was composed of 
>professors, knew of the senior class council's decision. They are definitely 
>more concerned with choosing the person who most fits the description of 
>University Medal than worrying about the lineup at graduation.  Or, it would 
>be that the professors really DID want someone to counter Albright and they 
>thought a Palestinian would be perfect. I don't know there are too many 
>theories. Maybe she and I were both chosen
>independently of each other and the lineup was random. 
>In any case, what I think made the university a bit wary of me was that I 
>refused to submit my speech to them. (That decision was also one that 
>agonized me for weeks, because there was ramifications for each option,
and I 
>had no way of predicting which would be the most effective to achieve the 
>goal of saying what I wanted the way I wanted.) I shared the
>beginning and end with them, but didn't elaborate on the middle part. It 
>wasn't because I was hiding anything from them, necessarily. It's just that 
>they didn't have a right to read it in the first place, and I wasn't
>composing it anyways. Of all universities to check freedom of speech, 
>Berkeley should never be one of them. More than that, I think I threw up a 
>red flag when I declined the opportunity to meet with Albright beforehand. 
>The coordinator of student activities was also well aware
>that I had no respect for Albright or her policies. 
>I should say that Eyad predicted precisely what happened: that once the 
>university really knew what I felt about her, they wouldn't have the
>to remove me as a speaker, but they'd just change the schedule so that I 
>spoke last, just as the reporters were packing up to leave 
>Albright's speech-writers had access to all the information I had submitted 
>to the Committee on Prizes because she was ostensibly interested in my 
>"story" (didn't you  know? all Palestinians have "stories" because we're
>performers in a circus), and she even said she wanted to include me in her 
>speech. That, I think, was an unsuccessful attempt to preempt me and force
>to be nice and gloating in her presence. 
>Okay, for whatever reason, it turned out that gave a speech as the "p.s." of 
>the program, since in my hands was an obsolete message which would have had 
>bad timing and a stiff delivery if I delivered it in its present state. 
>That's one big long introduction to explain why the heck what I've included 
>below is so discursive and anti-climactic given what you might have been 
>expecting.  I'm embarrassed, almost, to share it with you. There are 
>grammatical errors (lots of sentences that end in prepositions!), a couple 
>factual errors, no organization, many examples of poor diction, and in 
>general unintelligent-sounding. Still, I think what was important was the 
>delivery, since I was trembling, angry, and calm when I spoke. I disagree 
>with one reporter's assessment of it as "rousing and militant." It was more 
>of a sad, serious, sincere, half-exasperated,
>half-informative address that I gave completely off the cuff.  After working 
>all those weeks with my awesome friends on solidifying a message, though, it 
>wouldn't be completely accurate to say it was an extemporaneous delivery.  I 
>learned so much from the people who helped me with my speech, and in many 
>ways, I was saying their words but with my voice.   Thanks to everyone. 
>The support I received afterward vindicated the injustice (almost) of having 
>the rug swept from under my feet.  Many, many people lined up to extend
>congratulations. Most of them were strangers. "Courage" is the word I heard 
>most often.  Some Iraqi women came to me crying afterwards, happy that I was 
>able to speak (some of) the truth.  Even the
>chancellor of the university, who really, really legitimized what I had to 
>say before I opened my mouth because of the astounding and exaggerated 
>introduction he included when he awarded me the medal, said that he agrees
>the sanctions should be lifted, that he was proud of me, and that he wanted 
>to meet my parents. All of today and yesterday, I've been receiving so many, 
>many emails of support from Arabs, non-Arabs, Muslims, non-Muslims, friends, 
>strangers, university administrators, professors,
>etc. etc. If you're interested, I could post some of the highlights of the 
>mail I've gotten. The best part of what happened was that everyone who went 
>home that night had no choice but to mention the protesters, Iraq, the 
>sanctions, etc., and many of them had no idea what was happening in
>the first place. I only received 3 letters of intense criticism of what some 
>graduating seniors saw to be my "lack of tact" in politicizing their 
>convocation and giving legitimacy to people whom they thought were
>and disrespectful protesters. One of the letters appeared in
>our campus newspaper and was especially biting.  She basically said that I 
>had an outstanding academic record but that I lacked a key social technique: 
>"tact." Yikes. (Whatever.) 
>My friend Nadine lined up a radio interview with me, which I think went
>I have a reporter with another local newspaper for Tuesday. And the coverage 
>has been pretty good at the local level.  I'm extremely inexperienced when
>comes to media stuff, but Emily's helping a lot with that! 
>The ADC-SF crew has been really outstanding. They were calling, writing, 
>supporting, and standing with me in solidarity through every single aspect
>this.  Poor Maad recorded the speech but was so nervous and excited
>that it's a bumpy viewing! :)  My favorite graduation card was the one that 
>they all signed for me. It had snoopy on the cover and read, "2, 4, 6, 8, 
>You're Someone to Congratulate" but they had scribbled in, "Fadia's
>graduation day anthem: 1,2,3,4 end the sanctions, end the war, 5, 6, 7, 8
>the sanctions, end the hate!"  My friends were so courageous on Wednesday 
>truly a reflection of their spirit and dedication to this struggle. I love 
>each of them dearly. 
>We're totally hoping to use the momentum from Wednesday to continue forward 
>with our huge anti-sanctions campaign, which is supposed to culminate in a 
>series of outdoor advertisements on billboards and buses in San Francisco 
>commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the imposition of
>the sanctions. 
>Here's where you can find some stories: 
>1. Berkeley's website has a press release with pictures and a sugar-coated 
>summary. I think it summarizes my position pretty well albeit briefly. It's 
>at http://www.berkeley.edu/news/features/2000/05/11_convoc.html
>2. The local press in Southern California interviewed me the day before the 
>convocation, so the writer - a sympathetic Egyptian by pure coincidence - 
>wrote a glowing report without knowing what actually happened that day. 
>Still, it's a good article and it's at 
>3. My school newspaper had a report of it all, but I think the protesters 
>were trashed throughout. It's at
>http://www.dailycal.org/article.asp?id=2561&ref=news I can't believe that I 
>said she's the perpetrator of horrible "things"! What terrible word choice
>4. Then there was the Oakland Tribune, which said that I was the "main 
>course" (sensationalism!) and included lots and lots of information about
>sanctions, which was nice. 
>5. I think many of you have already seen the SF Chronicle's report. 
>Okay, here's the text of my speech. Forgive it, please, for all of its 
>mistakes!!! And forgive me - even though I haven't yet forgiven myself - for 
>talking about U.S. policy as though it's "our" policy, or the government as 
>though it's "my" government, or the people of Iraq as "them"
>instead of "us."  That was just the more effective route. There are many
>errors !
>Chancellor Berdahl: Please join me in congratulating our 2000 University 
>Medalist, Fadia Rafeedie: 
>Fadia: Thank you, that was way too generous, Chancellor Berdahl. It makes me 
>sound, you know, a lot better than I am. 
>And uh you know I just feel.. I had a speech and it's right here. It took me 
>so long to draft it and I kept re-drafting it, and this morning I changed it 
>again, but I'm just going to put it to the side and I'm going to talk from
>heart because what I witnessed here today, I have mixed feelings about. 
>I don't know why I'm up here articulating the viewpoints of a lot of my 
>comrades out there who were arrested, and not them. It's not because I got, 
>you know, straight A's or  maybe it is. Maybe that's the way the power 
>structure works, but I'm very fortunate to be able to give them a voice. I 
>think that's what I'm going to do, so if you give me your
>attention, I'd really appreciate it. 
>I was hoping to speak before Secretary Albright, but that was also a 
>reflection of the power structure, I think, to sort of change things around 
>and make it difficult for people who are ready to articulate their voice in 
>ways they don't usually get a chance to. 
>So I'm going to improvise, and I'm going to mention some things that she 
>didn't mention at all in her speech but which most of the protesters were 
>actually talking about. You know, I think it's really easy for us to feel 
>sorry for her, and I was looking at my grandmothers who are actually in the 
>audience - my grandmother and her sister - who weren't really happy with all 
>the protesters, and I think they thought that wasn't really respectful of 
>them, and a lot of you didn't, I don't think, because you came to hear her 
>But I think what the protesters did was not embarrass our university. I
>they dignified it. 
>Because secretary Albright didn't even mention Iraq, and that's what they 
>were here to listen to. And I think sometimes NOT saying things - not 
>mentioning things - is actually lying about them.  [Applause] 
>And what I was going to tell her while she was sitting on the stage with me, 
>I was going to remind her and I was going to remind you that four years ago 
>from this Friday when we were freshmen, I heard her on 60 Minutes talking to 
>a reporter who had just returned from Iraq. 
>The reporter was describing that  a million children were dying [died] due
>the sanctions that this country was imposing on the people of Iraq. And she 
>told her, listen, "that's more.. children than have died in Hiroshima
>and Nagasaki. Do you think the price is worth it?" [Albright] looked into
>camera and she said, "the price is worth it." 
>And I was going to tell her, "do you really think the price is worth it??!" 
>Since that time, 3 times that number of people have died in Iraq. 
>I mean, we're about 5,000 here today. Next month by the time we graduate, 
>that's as many people who are going to die in Iraq because of the
>This is what House Minority Whip David Boniors calls 'infanticide 
>masquerading as policy.' 
>Now, I don't want to make the mood somber here because this is our 
>commencement, but commencement means beginning, and I think it's important 
>for us to begin where civilization itself began, and where it's now being 
>destroyed. [applause] 
>Let me talk to you a little bit a little bit more about the sanctions, 
>because I think it's very important. Now, I'm a Palestinian, I would really 
>love to talk about the struggle for the liberation of my country, and to
>about a whole bunch of other things and I see some people maybe rolling
>eyes, and other people nodding these are controversial
>issues, but I need to speak about Iraq because I think what's happening
>is a genocide. It's another holocaust. 
>And I'm a history major, and sometimes I look back at history and I see 
>things like the slave trade, the Holocaust you know, I see I see people 
>dropping atomic bombs and not thinking what the ramifications are, and I 
>don't want us to think about Iraq that way. It's already a little too late
>because 2.5 million people have died and yet these sanctions continue. 
>For the last 10 years, you wouldn't imagine the kinds of things that aren't 
>being let into this country: heart machines, lung machines, needles, um 
>infrastructural parts to build the economy. Even cancer patients sometimes 
>some of the medicine will be let in, but not ALL of the medicine. 
>It's very strategic what's let in at what time, because what it does is it 
>prolongs life, but it doesn't save it. 
>In Iraq, the hospitals  they clean the floors with gasoline because
>isn't even allowed in because of the sanctions. 
>These are all United States policies. 
>And Secretary Albright - I have no conflict with HER, you know, as an 
>individual.. I don't happen to RESPECT her, but she belongs to a larger
>structure. She's a symbol. 
>And when the protesters are protesting, it's not because they, you know,
>to pick a fight with the.. with the woman who you guys all happen - well, 
>many of you - happen to love. 
>In fact, she was.. she was introduced as the 'greatest woman of our times.' 
>Now see, to me that's an insult. [applause]  This woman is doing HORRIBLE 
>She's allowing innocent people to suffer and to die. 
>Iraq used to be the country in the Arab World that had the best medical 
>services and social services for its people, and NOW look at it. It's, it's 
>And a lot of times you might hear it's because of Saddam Hussein and  I'd 
>like to talk a little bit about that. He's a brutal dictator - I agree with 
>her, and I agree with many of you. But again, I'm a history major, and 
>history means origins. It means beginnings. We need to see who's responsible 
>for how strong Saddam Hussein has gotten. 
>When he when he was gassing the Kurds, he was gassing them using chemical 
>weapons that were manufactured in Rochester, New York. 
>And when he was fighting a long and protracted war with Iran, where 1
>people died, it was the CIA that was funding him.  It was U.S. policy that 
>built this dictator. When they didn't NEED him, they started imposing 
>sanctions on his people. Sanctions - or any kind of policy - should be 
>directed at people's governments, not at the people. 
>The cancer rate in Iraq has risen by over 70 percent since the Gulf War. The 
>children who are dying from these malicious cancers [and here the front row 
>walked out of the theatre so I was blabbering incoherently] um.. and 
>diseases, they weren't born when the Gulf War happened. 
>The reason that the cancer rate is so high is because every other day our 
>country is bombing Iraq STILL. We're still at war with them. They have no 
>nuclear capabilities. In fact, just last week, the United Nations inspectors 
>found [again] that Iraq has no nuclear capabilities and yet WE are BOMBING 
>them every other day with depleted uranium. And what this
>does is it releases a gas that the people breathe. It's making them ill, and 
>they're dying and they don't have medicine. 
>I saw some of my friends, even, being arrested here today. One of them was 
>Lillian. Her aunt did a documentary about this depleted uranium, and it 
>showed that it's being MINED by Native American populations in the United 
>States. THEY'RE getting sick. Their children are getting sick. And that
>depleted uranium is going from HERE, to our MILITARY, to Iraq, and it's 
>decimating populations. This is a big deal. 
>And I'm embarrassed that I don't even get to talk about Columbia, because I 
>saw a few signs about that, too.  And my colleague here, Darren Noy, who's 
>also a Finalist, is very interested in these issues.  We don't stand alone. 
>I'm on stage with allies, I'm looking out at allies, we need allies, my 
>allies have been taken away [today]. 
>But in general, I mean, I'm speaking to a crowd that gave a standing ovation 
>to the woman who typifies everything against which I stand, and I'm still 
>telling you this because I think it's important to understand. 
>And I think, that if I achieve nothing else, if this makes you think a
>bit about Iraq, think a little bit about U.S. foreign policy, I've
>I don't want to take too much of your time, but I want to end my speech with 
>a slogan that hangs over my bed in Arabic.  It says, "La tastaw7ishu tareeq 
>el-7aq, min qilit es-sa'ireen fihi" and that translates into, "Fear
>not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." I think our 
>future is going to be the future of truth, and we're going to walk on that 
>path, and we're going to fill it with travelers. 
>Thank you very much. [Standing ovation from the stage, with the faculty 
>members, the senior class council, and the student award-winners. And, of 
>course, standing ovation from my cheering section in the crowd.] :) 
>Two sweet examples of poetic justice came out of this, too: 
>1. The quote at the end of my speech about the path of truth was really 
>inspiring to some people. Many of the emails ask me to quote it for them 
>again. The funny thing is, I actually took it from the bottom of the PFLP's 
>1999 calendar reprint of the unamended PLO charter which hangs over my bed!
>2. While Albright had to leave the way she did sprawled stomach-down in her 
>car, my family and friends went to San Francisco later that evening to
have a 
>little graduation celebration at the Ramallah Club's Hall. We danced to the 
>music of the shababeh and tableh, in a room decorated with
>a Palestinian flag. One of our theme songs, taken from a poster given to me 
>as a precious gift at the party, was "Im-ma Filasteenu wa im-ma annara
>ba3da jeelin"!! ("Either Palestine, or the fire generation after 
>generation.")  Remember?? Ha!  We had a blast, and it was the happiest day
>my life in spite of and because of everything that happened.
>All the best, 
>Fadia Rafeedie 

William J. (Bill) Thomson, Ph.D.