Yearly Archives: 1981

1981: Return to Lebanon

In 1981, Sheila returned to the Middle East again for more research and reporting.

She entered Lebanon via a ferry from Cypress to the Phalange-controlled area, and then taking a series of taxi rides to reach the Palestinian areas near Beirut.

During this time she was pregnant, and she would made the local women laugh by replying to their customary saying of “Inshallah walid” (God willing, it’ll be a boy) by saying “Inshallah bent” (God willing, a girl) and explaining that she already had four sons. Her wishes were granted when Caitlin was born that November.

1981: Palestine Solidarity Committee Protest

In 1981, the New York Times covered a PSC protest held adjacent to the annual New York City parade for the foundation of the state of Israel:

In a message from Israel, Prime Minister Menachem Begin appealed to Israel’s supporters not to allow any retaliatory actions against his country for destroying the Iraqi reactor. …

The crowd, which included marchers from 100 groups and thousands who lined the avenue to cheer them, applauded the Prime Minister’s statement.

The appeal was mocked at a counterdemonstration sponsored by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee attended by some 100 people nearby in Central Park . ”The Salute to Israel parade is a salute to racism, colonialism and repression,” said one banner held aloft there. ”Stop U.S. Aid to Israel,” said another. …

The Palestinian rally in Central Park off Fifth Avenue and 97th Street was called ”A Teach-In on Avoiding War in the Middle East.” Sheila Ryan, an organizer of the teach-in, said that her group’s aim was to ”stop the continuing flow of weapons to the Middle East.” She said this included Israel and Arab nations.

— From “Parade For Israel Reflects Fears Over Reactor Raid“, by Ari Goldman, New York Times, June 15, 1981.