Nubar Hovsepian wrote this memorial for Sheila in the Middle East Report, which had published numerous articles by Sheila in the 1980s.
Sheila was an accomplished cook, in any setting.
Even our picnics were extensively catered.
She had worked as a short-order cook in a roadside restaurant near the Bourne bridge as a summer job while she was a teenager, but most of her cooking skills seemed to be self-taught, through books and experimentation .
This 2005 article about the changing experience of HIV+ adolescents includes quotes from Sheila:
”This is not like cancer,” says Sheila Ryan, program director of the Special Needs Clinic at Columbia-Presbyterian. ”These families are not a cross-section of the population. These issues would be agonizing for any family to deal with, but the families that are likely to be dealing with H.I.V. are more likely to have problems with substance abuse and mental illness. These are poor families, and even within the poor community more likely to be fragile than others on the same block.” …
”The two issues they keep coming back to,” Sheila Ryan of Columbia-Presbyterian says, ”are the permanence of the virus — the idea that there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it — and what kind of impact it will have on their capacity to have children, which is partly a question about the ways in which they might be impaired or maimed or less than others.”
”Sometimes kids find ways of protecting themselves from the information,” Ryan adds. ”One girl who was in here, at the time we finally said the word H.I.V., she said, ‘But I know I don’t have AIDS.’ I said, ‘How’d you figure that out?’ And she said, ‘Because if you have AIDS, you’re skinny and living in Africa, so I know I don’t have it.’ Or another girl who was 15 — her mother told her the week before she came in here for the first time, and her response to that was simply that her mother had lied to her.”
— From “Their Unexpected Adolescence“, by Jonathan Dee, New York Times, June 26, 2005
Sheila is cited in this report by a director of Faith House in St. Louis:
A larger, unmet challenge still faces us. HIV/AIDS is now the sixth leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Sheila Ryan of the Special Needs Clinic of the New York Presbyterian Hospital warns about a serious lack of services nationwide for HIV-infected teens. Adolescents do not fit into most traditional programs because of their particular learning problems and emotional and behavioral issues. It is past time for our community to address this population.
— From “Faith House gets $500,000 grant from Dana Brown Foundation“, by Mildred Jamison, St. Louis Business Journal, Nov 26, 2000.
An article in Redbook magazine in 1999 quotes Sheila about the patients at the Special Needs Clinic:
Ryan, herself a mother of five, is a rock-solid presence. … “These are people whom the system considers expendable,” says Ryan. “They’ve been beaten down and traumatized, their families have been torn apart. And still they won’t give up. Their will to survive–not just in a physical sense but as human beings–is inspiring.”
Read on for a good overview of the clinic and the unique way it helps their patients:
The Forgotten Children
THEIR MOTHERS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED BY AIDS. THE SYSTEM HAS FORGOTTEN THEM. FINALLY, THERE’S A RAY OF HOPE FOR THE EPIDEMIC’S HIDDEN VICTIMS.
In 1991, a book was published about the Gulf War that included a chapter by Sheila about US preparation for force projection in the middle east prior to the 1991 Gulf War.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
One of the aspects of the Gulf War of 1991 which seemed to amaze many Americans was the efficiency with which the U.S. military carried out the enterprise. Within six months of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States had deployed half a million military personnel to the region, and had all of their supplies and equipment on hand: television viewers in the United States watched the process transfixed, for many of them experienced great difficulty in being deployed about their daily routines over bridges rusting out for lack of maintenance, pothole scarred roads and public transportation systems characterized by delay and discomfort. People marveled as targets were sought out and destroyed by smart bombs produced by the very country whose declining educational system sees to be producing a dumb generation.
— From “Countdown for a Decade: The U.S. Build-Up for War in the Gulf”, by Sheila Ryan, in Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader, edited by Phyllis Bennis, Michel Moushabeck, Interlink Pub Group, 1991, pp 91 – 102.
In 1991, a book was published containing a chapter by Sheila:
“Power Projection in the Middle East”, by Sheila Ryan, in Greg Bates, ed., Mobilizing Democracy: Changing the U. S. Role in the Middle East (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1991).
According to Publishers Weekly,
Sheila Ryan concludes that after 45 years of a Middle East policy based on anti-Soviet “containment,” the U.S. is now guided by its determination to control Europe’s and Japan’s source of oil.
In 1990, Sheila co-authored a book about legal structures used in settler societies:
Israel and South Africa: Legal Systems of Settler Domination, by Sheila Ryan and Donald Will, Africa World Press (May 1990)
A number of people have commented on the importance of this book, despite the relative obscurity of the specialty press that distributed it:(Cited in Worlds of Hurt: Reading the Literatures of Trauma, by Kalí Tal.)
From some time in 1989 through about 1991, Sheila was a co-producer for a weekly radio program named “Medium Hot” on WBAI, along with Adele Oltman.
The show had an hour-long slot on Fridays at 3:30 pm and then moved to 1:30 pm in February 1990.
It was described in the WBAI “Folio” as:
3:30 MEDIUM HOT. International affairs with an emphasis on how the different media present the issues. Produced by Adele Oltman and Sheila Ryan.
Later in 1991 she worked on another international affairs program:
8:30 … the Morning Show continues with reports firom the Middle East and Africa; produced by Sheila Ryan and Zenzile Khoisan.
— From “WBAI Folio” for November 1991.
Sheila wrote numerous articles about the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s, including these for MERIP:
- U. S. and Jordan: Thrice-Rescued Throne, by Sheila Ryan, Joe Stork, MERIP Reports, No. 7 (Feb., 1972), pp. 3-11
- Constructing a New Imperialism: Israel and the West Bank, by Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 9 (May – Jun., 1972), pp. 3-11+17
- Israeli Economic Policy in the Occupied Areas: Foundations of a New Imperialism, by Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 24 (Jan., 1974), pp. 3-24+28
- Palestinians and the Political Situation in Kuwait, by Sheila Ryan, Joe Stork, MERIP Reports, No. 54 (Feb., 1977), pp. 14-17
- The West Bank and Gaza: Political Consequences of Occupation, by Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 74 (Jan., 1979), pp. 3-8
- Khalid al-Hassan: “Our Strategy is to Help Our People Stay on Their Land”, by Khalid al-Hassan, George Cavaletto, Sheila Ryan, Jim Paul, MERIP Reports, No. 83 (Dec., 1979), pp. 12-14
- Abu Leila: Confronting the Dilemmas of the PLO in Lebanon and Jordan, by Abu Leila, Sheila Ryan, George Cavaletto, Tim Roberts, MERIP Reports, No. 83 (Dec., 1979), pp. 15-17
- The Reagan Budget: Money is Policy, by Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 105, Reagan Targets the Middle East (May, 1982), pp. 14-16
- Israel’s Future in Lebanon, by Elias Khoury, Nubar Hovsepian, Jim Paul, Joe Stork, Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 108/109, The Lebanon War (Sep. – Oct., 1982), pp. 28-32
- Further Reading on the Occupied Territories, by Joel Beinin, Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, No. 116, Israel’s Strategy of Occupation (Jul. – Aug., 1983), p. 31
- U.S. Military Contractors in Israel, by Sheila Ryan, MERIP Reports, Jan/Feb 1987
- Economic Dimensions of the Uprising, by Sheila Ryan, Middle East Report, No. 155, The Middle East after Reagan (Nov. – Dec., 1988), pp. 38-41
- Middle East Peace Priorities in the US: Seven Perspectives, by Eqbal Ahmad, Jeanne Butterfield, Noam Chomsky, Denis F. Doyon, Deena Hurwitz, Sheila Ryan, James Zogby, Middle East Report, No. 158, Palestine and Israel in the US Arena (May – Jun., 1989), pp. 6-11
In 1986, Claremont Research and Publications published “Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World”, a book by Noam Chomsky.
Sheila’s review of the book appeared in the next issue of “the Link”, a journal published by Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU):
Sheila on the roots of terrorism:
Were some diabolical social engineer to design an environment to provide the perfect growth conditions for terrorism, the result would be something very like Sabra and Shatila.
— From “No Place To Call Home“, by Sheila Ryan, New Internationalist, July 1986.
Amusingly, this report was quoted positively in a report sponsored by the Israel Resource News Agency which was critical of UNRWA:
With prescience, Sheila Ryan wrote, in 1986, “Is it any wonder…these dispossessed people listen to the shadowy figures who preach the efficacy of bloodshed…when all else seems to have failed?”
One of Sheila’s book titles prompted a airport-security profiling incident in 1986:
Rema Simon, a 23-year-old citizen of Massachusetts, is of French and Lebanese descent. She works in the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Social Law Library. But on the evening of May 1, she was in Ft. Lauderdale, about to end her vacation and take a Delta Airlines flight back to Boston.
Having passed the usual security check, Simon was on board, waiting for the plane to take off and reading a book, “Palestine Is, but Not in Jordan.” Looking up, she saw a man “carrying a walkie-talkie. He said, ‘Miss, could you please come with me? I have to talk to you.’ ” She followed him off the plane. “We stood outside the door of the aircraft,” she said. “Several flight attendants and airline or airport personnel stood around us.”
During the 1980s, Sheila also wrote for the Journal of Palestine Studies, published by Kuwait University:
- “Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon: Background to the Crisis“, by Sheila Ryan, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, no. 4 – Vol. 12, no. 1, Special Issue: The War in Lebanon (Summer – Autumn, 1982), pp. 23-37.
- “A Palestinian State for Israel’s Sake“, by Sheila Ryan, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol 14, No. 2, Special Issue: The Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories (Winter, 1985), pp. 154-156.
In the 1980s, Sheila learned that you could drive north into Canada to the end of the road — and then have your car winched onto a a freighter and carried further north along the St. Lawrence and Atlantic coast, to small coastal communities that were not otherwise connected to the outside world.
So of course, we went, with our big family van and all five children:
This anti-communist screen from the 1990s perpetuates the inaccuracy that Sheila had been in the Weather Underground:
In 1983 the 60 minutes news program aired a segment by Morley Safer reporting on the support the NCC [National Council of Churches] has given to left-wing causes around the world… The Methodist Church was funding the Palestine Liberation Organization through its support groups in this country including the Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Middle East Resource Center reportedly directed by Sheila Ryan, a former member of the Weather Underground.
— From “Anti-Americanism: Irrational and Rational“, by Paul Hollander, Transaction Publishers (1995)
Sheila wrote the April 1983 book review column for the journal “Race and Class”:
Race and Class (SAGE Publications): Ryan, S., (1983 April) Book reviews : The Battle of Beirut: why Israel invaded Lebanon. By MARTIN JANSEN (London, Zed Press, 1982). 142 pages. £4.50. ‘Lebanon Eyewitness’, By MARTIN PERETZ in The New Republic (2 August 1982). ‘J’Accuse’ By NORMAN PODHORETZ in Commentary (September 1982). ‘Lebanon: the case for the war’ By ROBERT W. TUCKER in Commentary (October 1982). 24 (4), 485-493
Sheila appeared on a number of radio programs in the early eighties, including these:
THURSDAY / 16 … 9:00 THE MIDDLE EAST REPORT. An update of regional events. With Sheila Ryan.
— From the “WBAI Folio” for December 1982.
Middle East Report / A. Walker | RECORDED: September 15, 1983. – CONTENT: INTERVIEWER: Sheila Ryan| INTERVIEWEE: Israel Shahak, Chairperson of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights. Talks about the implications of transition from the governments of Menachem Begin to that of Yitzak Shamir, Foreign Minister and Israel Cabinet.
— From a 1/4″ tape reel catalog entry at the Pacifica Radio Archives.
TUES 20 … 7:30 PRAXIS. An examination of changing social, political and economic institutions in the Middle East and Asia. Presented by Stuart Schaar and Sheila Ryan.
— From the “WBAI Folio” for March 1984.
RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Wednesday, November 27 at 9 PM
Religious fundamentali.sm — Islamic, Jewish, and Christian — has become a significant taaor in Mideast politics. This program explores what tensions in the various scxieties have given rise to this phenomenon, and what effect fundamentalist movements are having on that volatile region. Produced by Sheila Ryan, Nubar Housepian, and Stuart Scharr.
— From the “WBAI Folio” for November 1985.
Conservatives kept a close eye on the PSC, whose support for South African revolutionaries cemented their sense that it was part of a far-flung network of Weather Underground front groups:
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.