Hofstra Faculty and Staff Call for “Real Debate” on Poverty, Peace and Human Rights

For Immediate Release

Hofstra University Faculty and Staff
Contact: 

Carolyn Eisenberg
Department of History
347-743-8401, hiscze@aol.com

Martin Melkonian
Department of Economics
516-741-4360, Martin.Melkonian@Hofstra.edu

Debra Goodman
Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
516-505-5062, Debra.goodman@hofstra.edu

Hofstra Faculty and Staff Call for “Real Debate” on Poverty, Peace and Human Rights

Statement by Long Island Teachers and Friends for Human Rights

Hempstead, New York - With the second Presidential Debate scheduled for this evening at Hofstra University, members of its faculty and staff are calling upon the two candidates and moderator Candy Crowley to hold a “real debate over how we can best protect human rights, advance social justice and end unnecessary wars. “

Observing that both campaigns have essentially ignored these concerns, the group emphasized that “with forty-six million people now living in poverty, it is a stunning abdication of responsibility” for the candidates to focus exclusive attention on the middle class.

At a time when worries over the deficit are driving demands for draconian cuts in vital human services, the educators challenged President Obama and Governor Romney to explain why they support a military budget in FY 2013, which is in excess of $600 billion.

Noting that on average one American soldier is committing suicide every day, another 2000 have been killed, and an estimated 15,000 Afghan civilians have perished in the conflict, group spokesman Professor Martin Melkonian asked, “why is the United States government planning to keep its troops in Afghanistan for another two years?”

And why, the Hofstra educators wanted to know, is it acceptable to use Predator drones, over the villages of Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, terrorizing the inhabitants and assassinating alleged “militants” without proof or accountability? “Who will protect our people from the rage such attacks inspire?”

Hofstra Debate Should Focus on Social Justice, Peace and Human Rights!

Statement by Long Island Teachers and Friends for Human Rights

In this election year, we are concerned that neither campaign has addressed vital issues of peace, social justice and human rights.

With forty-six million Americans now in poverty, it is a stunning abdication of responsibility to refer exclusively to problems of the middle class. What shall be done for the 22% of children in the richest country of the world, who lack adequate food, housing and access to quality education?

With states and cities across the United States laying off hundreds of thousands of teachers, firemen, hospital workers and other public employees, why is there no acknowledgement by either candidate that this is not an imagined future but a contemporary reality? And why are there no serious proposals on the table for reversing these losses?

With heightened alarm about the deficit, and the curtailment of essential human services from day care facilities, to senior citizens centers, to repair of our bridges, roads and transportation network, why are candidates from both parties advocating military expenditures for FY 2013 that are in excess of $600 billion?

With one American soldier committing suicide every day, another 2000 killed, an estimated 15,000 Afghan civilians who have perished in violent attacks, $500 billion already spent, why is the United States government planning to remain in Afghanistan for another two years? Can either candidate explain how this will achieve any practical goal? And if there is none, why are we continuing to forfeit money and lives?

With American Predator drones, hovering over foreign territory in Pakistan and Yemen, terrorizing the inhabitants and assassinating individuals for unstated, undocumented reasons, can either candidate explain why this will make our country more secure? Or how this will protect our people from the anger that such attacks inspire?

These urgent questions require forthright answers. And we call upon both candidates and the Town Hall moderator to provide the American public with a real debate over how we can best protect human rights, advance social justice and end unnecessary wars.

Signed:
Faculty, Staff and Friends

Johan Ahr (History)
Iska Alter (English)
Valerie Barr (friend)
Cindy L. Bell (Music)
Robert Brinkman (Geology, Environment and Sustainability)
Ann M. Burlein (Religion)
Jacqueline Grennon Brooks (Education)
John L. Bryant (English)
Chandler Carter (Music)
Sally Charnow (History)
Judy D’Angio (History)
Timothy P. Daniels (Sociology)
Tom DelGudice (Economics)
Neil Donahue (German and Comparative Literature)
Simon Doubleday (History)
Carolyn Eisenberg (History)
Rosebud Elijah (Education)
Brenda Elsey (History)
Anita Feldman (Dance)
Laurie Fendrich (Fine Arts)
Massoud Fazuli (Economics)
Ann Feuerbach (Anthropology)
David Friedkin (Writing Studies)
Esther Fusco (Education)
Ignacio L. Gotz (emeritus)
Debra Goodman (Education)
David Green (Political Science)
Robert Guttmann (Economics)
Russ Harrison (Writing Studies)
Conrad Herold (Economics)
Kari P. Jensen (Global Studies and Geography)
Elena Jurasaite-Harbison (Education)
Jessica Karmen (Sociology)
Sharryn M. Kasmir (Anthropology)
Judy Kaufman (Education)
Louis J. Kern (History)
Stefan Krieger (Law)
James P. Levy (History)
Barbara Lekatsas (Comp Lit and Languages)
Charles F. Levinthal (Psychology)
Andrea Libresco (Education)
Rick Ligouri (Education)
Linda Longmire (Global Studies and Geography)
Michael J. Ludwig (Health Professions)
Greg Maney (Sociology)
Martin Melkonian (Economics)
Cheryl B. Mwaria (Anthropology)
John Munz (History)
Mario Murillo (Radio, Television, Film)
Stefanie E. Nanes (Political Science)
Christopher Niedt (Sociology)
Edward Ostling (Mathematics)
Irene Plonczak (STEM, Science, Technology and Math)
Erica Percorale
Stan Pugliese (History)
Cindy Rosenthal (Drama)
Benita Sampedro (Romance Languages)
Sabina Sawhney (English)
Eileen Simons (Education)
Alan Singer (Education)
Judy Singer (Friend)
Tim Smith (Education)
Sandra L. Stacki (Education)
John Teehan (Religion)
Daniel Martin Varisco (Anthropology)
Sharon Whitton (Education)
Susan Yohn (History)
Lee Zimmerman (English)
Paul Zimmerman (English)

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