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Message from the Chairman, 2014

January 22, 2014

Dear Members and Friends,

With the beginning of our third year in action, SAF is leaping forward steadily and energetically. Two years on, our support has grown by more than ten folds, your voice has been heard over and over by our community, the wider American society and officials, by our extended families, and back in our motherland, the greatly beloved Syria.

Our work aims for the long haul. Yes, our mother country is facing an existential threat and we are doing all we can to help get it out of this crisis. Yet, we have to keep looking at the long term needed objectives. We have to keep in mind that our children, grandchildren and future generations will look back at your work and thank us all for establishing the foundations for their full participation in the affairs of their society, rather than starting from below zero when looking to help their community and their ancestral country as we had to.

While keeping an eye on the future and steadily growing in numbers and influence, we are dealing with the imminent crisis facing Syria as a priority. Let me briefly describe some of your achievements for the past year:

  • SAF grew to have chapters in following states: Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Michigan and Illinois, while anticipating new chapters in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts within few weeks. Other chapters are being organized in other states as well.
  • The growth of our support gave us a stronger voice on behalf of the community in decision making circles (administration, congress, academia and media). Your show of unity, mainly during the period of the threat of USA attack on Syria, facilitated the support of a wide-ranging coalition opposing the war and supporting your call for peace in Syria. The series of demonstrations held all over the USA, in response to our Call for Action, culminating in the largest ever Syrian American demonstration held in Washington DC, along with the campaigns of contacting officials and media, contributed, no matter how minimally, to the President’s decision not to directly attack our mother country.
  • Furthermore, I am heartened by the notation of one of our most active members when he related to me and our colleagues that he heard a commentator on a TV channel calling on the American people to rise in opposing an issue as effectively as the Syrian Americans rose in their opposition to the proposed attacks.
  • SAF members met with administration officials on few occasions, and with at least a dozen congressmen. We wrote most of the members of congress. We made your voices heard. We most definitely let them all know that your voices are for peace.
  • Our representatives appeared on numerous national and local channels, wrote letters to the editor, voicing your opinions and calls for peace.
  • SAF organized at least seven large community events in addition to numerous small-scale meetings. Our compatriots are expressing daily support for our calls for dialogue and unity within the Syrian American community.

Yes, we faced several glitches and obstacles. Many of them were frustrating. Yet, whenever one arose, we found more voices of hope, energy and support that led us to just put our frustration aside and move on with our mission. We never deviated while we kept pushing forward. The most reassuring responses we received were from our extended families in our mother country feeling proud of the moral support we provided them from here. They are the ones facing the daily threat of this vicious war against Syria, its fabric and existence. We are here doing whatever we can to help alleviate this suffering.

As for the coming year, we are all counting on everyone to help further our organization and its mission.  In addition to increasing our membership and support substantially, we are embarking on a very ambitious plan for 2014 and have identified the following two top items to be part of this plan:

  • A campaign of “Free Syria of Al-Qaeda”.
  • A media and political campaign in this mid-term election year.

We need to clarify the reality of what our mother country and families are facing. We have to unite and energize in order to clarify. Our extended families count on us.

My colleagues on the national board of SAF, and myself, are extremely proud of our Syrian American community. You are the ones providing us the much needed energy to continue with our mission. We urge you all to spread our mission of peace and harmony. We urge you to continue to support each other in uniting the community for the sake of our country the USA, our mother country Syria, and generations to come.

May God bring peace to our beloved Syria, bless it with his graciousness and provide us with the strength, patience and perseverance to continue to help.

Nasser Ani, MD
Syrian American Forum