February 6, 2020
For over four decades, John Duke Anthony has served as the inaugural president and CEO of the National Council on US-Arab Relations. In his talk he began reflecting on his extensive experiences across the 22 Arab countries he visited, worked in, and influenced. Throughout his talk, Anthony aims to inspire Americans and people globally towards empathy. He delves into America’s impact on millions in Arab nations, particularly scrutinizing the repercussions of deploying personnel and weapons in Iraq and Iran. Anthony contends that America’s actions in the Middle East have cast it as a violator of moral codes, with countless lives, institutions, and cultural identities obliterated. He underscores the paradox of America advocating for understanding yet failing to reciprocate that understanding for Muslims and Arabs, often reducing them to mere objects in Western perceptions. Anthony reveals that the pursuit of money often underlies America’s push for influence in Arab countries, raising critical questions about the ethical costs involved. Unflinchingly, he presents the harsh realities of America’s presence in the region, asserting that the nation has shattered the lives of millions without acknowledging, apologizing, or taking responsibility for the aftermath. Anthony concludes with a call for empathy, asserting that true democracy and genuine care for one another can only be achieved when there is compassion for all of mankind and that every story has two sides.