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Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Bahraini Student Debates US Foreign Policy in a Classroom with a World View

Zainab Alkhawaja is from Bahrain, the daughter of a human rights activist and well-schooled in the abuses wrought by her country's government, a close ally of the United States. She rarely concedes a point in Cyrus Partovi's summer class on U.S. foreign policy at Lewis & Clark College. Last week, when the discussion turned to the war in Iraq, was no exception.

(Zainab AlKhawajah)

Partovi, who opposed the war, points out that the United States' strategy is about self-interest. Even so, he asks his students, isn't it possible that the war has benefited some Iraqis persecuted under Saddam Hussein?

"I think you should put the stress on (U.S.) interest," Alkhawaja says.

"Zainab, be fair."

"America's interests come first," she insists. "That means no one matters."

Lewis & Clark is the first stop for Alkhawaja and eight other students from Jordan, Yemen, India, Morocco and Syria chosen by the U.S. State Department to spend their final two years of college on American campuses. The State Department created the PLUS program -- Partnerships for Learning Undergraduate Studies -- last year to promote understanding between Americans and young people from countries with large Muslim populations.

(South Campus at Lews & Clark College)

Partovi, who is more conservative than many of his Lewis & Clark students, often finds himself in the minority on the Southwest Portland campus. But Alkhawaja and her peers, because they are more vocal and critical of the impact of U.S. policies on their countries, challenge even his most liberal American students, Partovi says.

"This trip, to me, was kind of like hope," she says. "I would be a bridge between America and the Bahraini people, and Arabs in general, and even Muslims in general. And that would help."

Alkhawaja despairs at the slow tread toward democracy in her country, which she says is made worse by the Bush administration's support for the regime. She will spend two years at Beloit College in Wisconsin, studying English literature and political science. Read More ....

Those interested readers who are eager to find out more about Zainab, her views and experiences, can check out her blog 'Dreamer' and interact with her via the comments section. On behalf of Bahrain's Blogosphere, the team at News Blog re-Blog welcome Zainab to the world of blogging and wishes her all the best with her studies.

Source: The Oregonian | reBlogged By: News Blog re-Blog
Filed Under: Bahrain, Democracy, US, Foreign Policy, Midle East | Permalink

Posted by News Blog re-Blog Team |

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