Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fireworks at the Goodman - Kreider Debate - Part 1

The Columbus Dispatch offers this weird headline concerning last evening's debate between 3rd Senate District incumbent David Goodman and his Democratic challenger, Emily Kreider:

GOP incumbent verbally attacked by hostile crowd

Hostile crowd?? You mean the three people who at one time or another asked Goodman some sharp, confrontational questions? The subtitle, byline, and time stamp, at least, are accurate:

Candidates widely split on school funding
The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday, October 5, 2006 12:12 AM

Offering starkly different views on whether Ohio's education funding system still needs an overhaul, state Sen. David Goodman and his Democratic challenger, Emily Kreider, faced off yesterday in a debate that turned chaotic near the end when some audience members became verbally hostile.

Before the ruckus, during which a handful of audience members at Otterbein College's Riley Auditorium shouted at Goodman and one even approached the stage, Goodman defended the current school-funding system while Kreider insisted that more property-tax relief is needed.

The two are vying for the 3rd Senate District, which covers much of northern and eastern Franklin County.

Full story

I was present at the debate, and I simply do not recognize the part of the story that suggests a meltdown. An Arab American man accused Goodman of having said, in 1994, that Arabs were "scum" and "filth." The moderator, audience, and Goodman himself sat still for it until the man, Mahmoud El-Yousseph, a retired twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, became frustrated when Goodman steadfastly denied having ever said any such thing. He continued to repeat his accusation, which derived from a 2004 email received by Mr. El-Yousseph from an attorney who once had an office near Goodman's during his early days of private practice, until the audience grew clearly impatient and the moderator managed to get Mr. El-Yousseph to subside.

I spoke to Mr. El-Yousseph afterward and got the impression that he had posted the email and related material on the web. That may indeed be the case, but a preliminary Google search shows mainly that he is a member of the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in the Military. He seems to be a frequent letter writer to the Dispatch and has done some free lance op/ed writing as well, including at least two articles which have appeared in the English-language edition of Al-Jazeera.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 (coming)


Blogger Mark G. said...

I'm posting this on behalf of Mr. El-Yousseph. In an email, he explained that he had tried to post this as a comment but had trouble registering to do so:

Thanks for the story. Too bad you do not report to the Columbus Dispatch. I tried to post a comment on the story, however; I have trouble registering.

Let me set the record straight. I never met either candidate before. The email that contained the racist remarks was posted on a group list, which I am member of 2 yeas ago. It was not a personal message that was sent to me directly. It was a public domain.

I did not ask for an apology from Senator Goodman. Only an honest explaination. Did he say it 12 years ago or not, and if so, does he still feel the same way. Or is he willing to retract it. I would have been happy with an honest and straight answer.

I did however after the debate speak to the senator, shock his hand and offer him a slice of pizza, which I brought with me to break my fasting during the debate. He dicline and thanked me instead. He wanted to know my motive. Here goes:

As a father of six children, I want them to live in free and safe America when I am gone. America that I love and served. Not America that hate and discriminate. Not America that treat it Arab and Muslim citizens as an evil, anoutsider, and a suspect.
I want them to live in America that does not view nothing more than snakes in the grassjust waiting for the next move.

I wanted them to live in America that value the contributions of their fathers and many Arab and Muslim Americans who were willing and ready to die for America if need be.

The last thing my oldest sun told me in person when he was deployed to Iraq," if I die, I want to be burried at Arlington." Thank God, he made it back alife and not in a body bag. That said, It is insult to hear ethnic slurs, racist remarks against Arab/Muslim Americans all the time. Be it my own state senator or State Rep Jim Welker of Colorado or Joe Blow of New Jersey. Those people want you to believe that Muslims and Arab American and not loyal and patriotic citizens. That is a disgrace. It is even more disgraceful for those public officials who uses racial division for personal gain.

The think the outrage should be directed toward them for their remarks, and not the one who is raising the issue, inorder to inform and educate his fellow citizen.

Freedom of speech is the most I treasure in this country. If I do not use it, I will fortify it. And If I don't defend my faith and ethnicity, who will?

As a result, I will continue to challange and expose anyone who wish to insult and defame Arab/Muslim American as long as I live, even if he or she hold a public office.

thanks for your time.
Salam, and God Bless.

10:46 AM  

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