Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A good way to support peace in Iraq

I just got this email from Radio Almahaba
Dear Supporters of Radio Almahaba (Voice of Iraqi Women):

Finally we can announce the several miracles which have come to Radio Almahaba, because today they have been made public through a press release and a pubic announcement from the Satellite Sisters.

In June I was contacted by Harris Corporation with an offer to build and donate a 5kw transmitter for Radio Almahaba to replace the one they lost almost a year ago by terrorists’ bombing. After RA lost their transmitter, they rented an old transmitter, but due to the dramatic shrinkage in the broadcasting area, they lost all advertisers and the revenue from them. So the salary of the staff was cut to half and they have been surviving with the income given from some of their founders themselves and donations from the people in this country and other countries.

The first miracle came because Ms. D. McAdams, the managing editor of TV Technology magazine, heard an April NPR interview of Ms. Bushra Jamil, the spokeswoman of Radio Almahaba. Ms. McAdams was very moved listening about this independent secular radio station in Iraq which was not only informing and educating the women and their families in Iraq, but also was providing talk shows through which people could share their views and experiences with other people. So Ms. McAdams appealed to the industry she worked in and Mr. E. Klein relayed the appeal to Harris Corporation.

Harris Corporation not only built the transmitter for Radio Almahaba, they air shipped it to Baghdad. Ms. McAdams again helped by contacting her dear friend in Iraq and made a special arrangement for its safe delivery to the station about a month ago. Since the arrival of this miracle transmitter, RA management has been comparison shopping for necessary auxiliary parts despite the difficult security situation and sky-rocketing prices.

Today, they finally got the needed parts and brought them back safely to the station, but with a nerve racking and yet funny incident. On the way back to the station, the manager was stopped by police at a check point. They wanted to confiscate all the equipment on the truck. Luckily, someone intervened and the manager was allowed to leave with all the just bought equipment. When the manager was leaving, he realized that the policemen were listening to Radio Almahaba! So he told them to call the radio station to gain benefit from their program! They hope to start broadcasting using this new state of the art transmitter later this week.

The second miracle came in a form of a big fund raising effort by the syndicated radio talk show in this country, the Satellite Sisters. They interviewed Bushra while she was visiting us this April and they announced their $100,000 campaign for Radio Almahaba on the day they received the National Gracie Award in NYC in June. Since then this campaign has raised over $30,000 cash plus $10,000 pledge and the campaign is still continuing. They have received donation not only from this country but from Europe and Japan.

The third miracle came from University of Illinois Department of Journalism. Their Academic Programs Coordinator, Professor L Holley offered to help Radio Almahaba. She and her friends donated a laptop computer as well as five digital audio recorders. Now she has invited Bushra to come to Chicago on November 1st for an interview with WGN and possibly some other media stations, and then to U of I for a panel discussion and reception.

So despite the suicide bombing occurring just outside their building last month, losing their two former colleagues just recently by bombing at a market, the brave and dedicated staff members of this courageous first women’s radio station for Iraqi women and families even go to work on foot despite the curfew. They do so because they know that

the majority of the Iraqi people want to have peace and true democracy, freedom and justice based on human rights for everyone regardless of religion and beliefs. They do so also because they know that there are those in far away countries, from the USA, UK,. Europe, Fiji Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan who are supporting them and praying for their success.

Could you please help spread the news of these miracles to your friends? In the face on the daily atrocities and tragedies, Radio Almahaba will be heard again by many people in Iraq. Soon no one in the area has to risk their lives by going up to their roof to string a wire to catch the station’s broadcast signal!

On behalf of Radio Almahaba, I would like to thank from bottom of our hearts each one of you for your support for Radio Almahaba, for the Iraqi women and their families. In fact, as you read above, even Iraqi policemen are listening to Radio Almahaba which also receives calls daily from many women and men, young and old. Please continue to keep them in your prayers and positive thoughts. Each one of the RA staff members read your name and is encouraged by your support. I am attaching a photo of some of the RA staff members at their station.

With deepest gratitude,

Akiko Y. Swabb

No comments: