Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

Live From Beirut

| 19 Comments | No TrackBacks

I've been in the Middle East with the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the first five days, and I feel like I've been working on a degree in Middle Eastern affairs.

We've been in Syria where we met with the president, as well as religious leaders. Jackson's mission is to secure support for the proposed UN peacekeeping mission, to extend the cease-fire, and to convince Hamas and Hezbollah forces to release three Israeli prisoners.

We left Syria by motorcade, escorted by military personnel.

By the time we reached Beirut, my heart was aching over the devastation in this region.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


Why is Rev Jackson in the Middle East and who does he represent? Was there an election I missed?


Jackson went to the Middle East on an humanitarian mission to support the extension of the cease-fire, lobby for the lifting of the blockade against Lebanon, and seek the release of the two Israeli soldiers, just as he has done five times in the past.

As for the election, you ought to know by now that Jackson doesn't wait to be appointed. There's a lesson in that for the rest of us.

Jesse Jackson visits his terrorist friends like the traitor he is and nobody can criticize him without being labelled a racist. He should be tard and feathered and have his citizenship revoked. If he likes terrorists so much he can go live there and never come back! He is not American! Syria is a much more racist nation than America, he can yell at terrorists there for being racist and maybe one of them finally shut him up like Americans are too scared to do the past 40 years.


Syrians treated us with dignity and respect. What makes people like you so angry is that Jackson doesn't wait to be anointed or appointed by white people.

where does Jackson get off thinking he can help anyone? He hasn't helped his own people and his only concern is money. When he starts to be an example of good, maybe then he can be taken seriously. Until the...he is a joke and the people that worship at his feet must want to be fleeced.


Jackson has his critics, but to say he hasn't helped his own people is just not true. Can one person solve or help every black person who has a problem? I don't think so. As for being an example of good--what more would you have him do, walk on water?

Any success he has regardless of the reason is a plus. He knows he's in no danger himself and its a chance to stick it to this administration like he did Reagan and Carter's. And that 3rd world dictatorships will help him, if for no other reason, inorder to embarrass and stick it to Washington. I think my problem is this is giving Hezbollah needed recognition and publicity. Also, he isn't worth anything in his own area. He has NOT spoken out strongly v. children being murdered in Englewood. He travels all over the world but had to lay-off some PUSH employees I understand. Maybe some of those expenses could have been used to keep them employed. He and his entourage stay in $500 a night hotel suites. Maybe less expensive motel or hotels and the needy could have received some of the saved money. Finally he wants more money for schools here, which is fine, but he hasn't campaigned to change the thinking that learning to read is a white thing, that it isn't cool to be a good student. I know, I've tutored and thats what I had to listen too. All the funding won't do a bit of good until the mind-set is changed. Jesse has been quiet on this. Why?


I don't know about the lay-offs of PUSH employees, but I can tell you Jackson was definitely in harm's way. The region is so unsettled, armed guards were posted at the hotels. As for the $500 a night hotel suites, that's a gross exaggeration.

It is nice to see our wonderful local black leaders all over the world when the problems in chicago are getting out of control jackson in the midle east obama in africa come there are homeless jobless people in chicago and the only black person who should run for mayor is obama

Geez Israel est. 1946 created by god who knows when what have the jewish peoples ever done to merit a hatred so vile and unjust? what makes one anti-semitic? or anti any ethnic group for that matter...two words ignorance and arrogance.

I believe that the Israeli prisoners will not be released without some sort of compromise which I believe in this country must involve the President

We rely on you as a witness to history. Keep the reports coming.


Sorry I couldn't keep up with the blog. It was a remarkable journey and we stayed on the go 12 to 14 hours a day. It was amazing to meet ordinary people on both sides of the issue who are working for peace.


Good luck on this trip. Keep safe! Regarding the destruction, it makes one wonder how long it'll be until everyone gets tired enough of the killing to make peace.

I am trying to decipher whether or not you are taking a political position on this region and the politics involved. LEt me just sum it up by asking: Do you think Israel has a right to exist?

or rather, Do you believe the destruction for which your heart aches is the cause of ISrael or the cause of Hezbollah?


To answer your question succintly: Of course I believe Israel has a right to exist. But I also believe Palestine has a right to exist, too. As for the destruction, Israel blew up entire neighborhoods to retailiate for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers instead of looking for ways to negotiate for their release. These tit-for-tat skirmishes have been going on for years and should finally be brought to an end by a prisoner swap.

I am glad you are with Rev.Jackson because the media coverage he usually gets from the mainstream media is usually negative and inaccurate ,if anyone can get it right it is you .Ms.mitchell!we are praying for you and rev.Jackson to have a safe trip and for him to accomplish his goals.War is hell(my son just did three tours in Iraq ,he came back physically whole ,but I cant say how much it affected him psychologically.)It is a shame how this war between Israel and hizbollah hurt so many civilians on both sides.Dont worry you both will be protected, Rev. Jackson is a survivor also,so in closing remember this from Albert Einstein,"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds".......The Truth(D.H)

I just read Hezbollah wants a 1,000 to 1 hostage swap.

Seems a little lopsided doesn't it?

Can you ask Rev. Jackson when he is going to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) to secure the release of the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been under house arrest for several years now?


Israeli officials have said they will not negotiate a hostage swap. The bigger question is who are the 1,000 people being held captive by Israel and why? I understand some of them are women and children.

As for Rev. Jackson going to Myanmar, isn't it a bit disingenioius to suggest the entire weight of freeing hostages be placed on his shoulders?

Ms. Mitchell,
Often I am not in complete agreement with you or the Rev. Jackson on a variety of isuues. This time my chest is puffed out with pride because of you guys. I hope that the Rev. Jackson can succeed in returning the Israeli hostages to their families and I hope more so that in your column you make a very complex issue a little bit more understandable for a majority of Americans who only get their exposure to international events from the Republican Party New Network known as Fox news. Take care and GOD bless you all.


After going to the Middle East, I have a better understanding of how the U.S. policy continues to feed the terrorist cells in this region. Only a few years ago, the Palestine Liberation Organization was deemed the largest terrorist group, and U.S. policy prevented us from negotiating or even meeting with them. Today the PLO are at the table and the Palestinians are still stuck in refugee camps and Hezbollah is now the boogeymen. As long as we embrace a "no talk policy" with these groups, we are going to be locked into the war against terror.

Apparently there is an expectation of ooooo's and aaahs. Rev. "baby's daddy" has once again fronted himself in the forefront of a battery of cameras.
You want devastation, try New Orleans with its idiot of a mayor, then you have the rest of the Mississippi Coast Line, that you can develope an achy breaky heart for. Over one year has pass, an american City still lay in ruins and its population still disperse through out the rest of the country. The city of New Orleans being patrol by State Police, National Guards and God knows who else. Mismanagement of government and private funds still hampering legitimate reliefs. Unlike Beirut and points in the middle east, New Orleans's still boast the non burial of over 100 of its citizen, who are stacked like cord wood in a very non descript warehouse, because the Allatoyah Nagin dislike the propose burial location, that the State was willing to provide. I guess someday in the future, Nagin The Great, will lead a photo op mass burial of these poor souls. So why you and the Rev. are swooning tearfully for those people and countries who have been killing, maiming each other for centuries, with no reasonable relief forecast to be seen. But i guess the news worthiness of New Orlean and Mississippi has run its course. NEWSFLASH: Rev> J. Jackson to preside over the burial of left over "KATRINA VICTIMS", now that will bring the cameras out.

Hello Mary,

I like to introduce myself, my name is Gus Choueiri, I am 56 yrs old,my family I live in an outer regional city of Sydney Australia,I was born in Lebanon but migrated to Australia at the age of 15,due to the civil war I did not go back to Leb.until 1996, then again last May 2006,although my children were born in Aust.and I feel as a true blue aussie, I still love the country of my birth as well all the dear relatives and my old school friends that I was lucky to see again for the first time since my childhood.
I read your articale of August 30 2006 ( LIVE FROM BEIRUT)on the internet,at that time I was searching to see if I could find a web site or a committed group to make a difference, and possibly help promote peace not just in the M.East but world wide while there is still a chance.
My idea is not the conventional method of collective political and diplomatic methods,i.e relying on MERE "MAN" alone, or on our world leaders for the solution to our problems, which "MAN" created in the first place;and which so far,for at least 2500 years obviously has not been able to solve.
My ultimate hope is that we should TURN TO GOD for help and Pray to him and ask for his forgivness, then maybe through repentance he will show mercy and solve our never ending suffering and bring peace to this beautiful planet.If you think my idea is simplistic and people will not respond and do not believe in turning to God for help then how can these same people keep using (God's name in vain)I will explain:Firstly,the Jews as people believe that they are(God's Chosen people).
Secondly: The slogin "In God we trust" appears on the U.S. currency.
Thirdly: the name
" Huzballa"in Arabic means as you know " party of God", even the name of their leader Hussein Nassralla would you believe, means in Arabic " the victory or triumph of God, what a bunch of hipocrites most of us are.
If we need to convince anyone of truly turning to God, maybe an article by you highliting the above should open their eyes to these often forgotten facts.
I am not a "Bible basher"
but I am a man of faith in God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and since you have visited the M.East with Rev.Jesse Jackson, I assume that you are also a believer in our Creator, that is why I felt comfortable to write to you to see if you could help,with your connetions and that of the Rev.Jesse Jackson, we could invite as many of the former World leaders,Such as fr.President Jimmy Carter,Bill Clinton,Mikail Gorbechov,Nelson Mandella, but to name a few,most of these leaders have during their time in office have presided over a world conflict or attempted to negotiate a peace deal somewhere to no avail,they could hold hands with our present day leaders as a testament to " MAN'S" failings, and pray with us not just as a nation but collectivelly as "mere humble HUMAN BEINGS in need of GOD'S mercy and help.
This could be held in the next few week or maybe on 11 Nov. Rememberance Day,
Call it if you will " A PRAYER for PEACE and Forgivness"
With today's available technology this mass gathering could easily be arranged and held in total safety for our past and present leaders via video link and shown on giant screens all over the world.
If we could do this with your good help, we may be able to make a difference to some of the people somewhere in this world if not initially to everyone, as the saying goes "a
journey begins with the first step", or something like that.
Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to read this,and I hope,wish and pray that you will take my simplistic idea seriously and contact me on my

Kind Regards,
Gus Choueiri


Thank you for your e-mail. I'll foward your idea to the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. After visiting the Middle East, I understand the passion many people have about this issue. Also, I met a wonderful woman who is also from Lebanon who is working with a group that is also searching for answers. I'll also forward you her contact information by private e-mail.

By the way, Lebanon is incredibly beautiful. I would love to go back there.

President Bush ( alias Karl Rove ) had his "FEAR MONGERING IN FULL ATTACK MODE".
Sorry, but it is not going to work. Americans do not believe that MILLIONS of AL Queada operatives will invade the US if we start withdrawing troops from Iraq. Malaki has stated that his government will be ready to assume the security of his country by the end of this year. He also believes part of the violence is due to the US presence.Bush prefers to put our teenage troops in the middle of a civil war. How many Al Queada have we killed or capured with our 130,000
troops in the past six months? 5? 10? 50?
Bushy Bush stated that Hezbollah is the second largest terrorist organization in the world and it in addition to Al Queda wants to destroy America. FINE!
What has he done about it? He will not even sent 5000 troops to Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah in accordance with UN Resolutions 1559 and 1706. Bush is a hypocrite. He started an illegal war and now he
is asking the American people to help him save face by keeping our troops in Iraq until he vacates the White House. Then he can blame someone else for withdrawing troops. In the meanwhile the second largest terror organization is thumbing it's nose at the US.
The Bush organization has known the threat of LIQUID EXPLOSIVES on airplanes since the first time they were used in 1987 and at least 2 times after that. Apparently they were waiting for them to be used on American Planes and killing thousands of Americans be before banning and screening for LIQUIDS and Gels. Has he called for a ban of liquids and Gels on US public transportation systems? No he is waiting for hundreds of Americans to be blown up by Liquid Explosives on Trains or Subways here in America. Then he can FEAR MONGER some more about why his illegal spying and total power to do whatever he wants is important.
Bush is a hypocrite!

Jim Frego
Grants Pass, OR

I thought I was the only one who felt alittle like the palestinians and others were being made out to be lazy ,terrorists the right wing media but I hope that Ms.Mitchells experience(and reporting) in the middle east will help give more balance in peoples perceptions about what really is happening in the middle east.Who is wrong in this conflict?that is a matter of opinion,but to talk negatively about Rev.Jacksons attempt to assist is ludicrous.If he doesnt do anything about a issue he is mocked, if he tries to act upon and help he is talked about negatively in the media.Could it be that The Bush adnministration is so incompetant that they encourage this negative reaction to his assistance to try to make themselves look good by making Rev.Jackson look bad?He was there to also obtain the releases of prisoners including the Israeli soildiers,if it were up to our govt.(present)all captured people would be left to die,and millions more would face a humanitarian crisis,so before takink sides if any it is better to have all the facts .Rev.Jackson is a humanitarian not a hate monger like most right wing(neo-con artists)would have you think.Nevertheless good job Ms.Mitchell, glad to have you home!

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has just QUITELY, with no fanfare or media following, SUCCESSFULLY secured the release of a Tribune writer from a hostile anti-American and anti-Israeli group in Sudan....So where are his bravo's, plaudits, frowning over from the media? Just asking.


Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on August 30, 2006 12:22 AM.

Arellano Is No Rosa Parks was the previous entry in this blog.

No Place Like Home is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.