As the 2008 election season speeds ahead, The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council invited activists, scholars, artists, members of the community to Festival of Democracy: Unleashing Radical Imagination, a gathering designed to launch a conversation about the kind of world we want to build together. Even as the presidential debates enter new territory, with candidates taking part in YouTube and online-only debates, we want to ask: how can we move beyond political platforms and media sound bites to engage in meaningful dialogue?
How can we create a more participatory democracy as we raise and wrestle with local and global issues? How do various issues intersect in ways that provide new insights and directions? How can we make connections between ongoing strugglesthat help us envision a more democratic and just world?
The day continued with Rashid Khalidi in conversation with Salim Muwakkil. How does the occupation of Iraq and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East affect us in Chicago, the U.S. and beyond? How is the war in Iraq and the crisis in the Middle East linked to injustices in the prison system, immigration reform, and global warming? How can we promote democracy in seemingly undemocratic and violent times?
Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University and author of Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East.
Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor of In These Times, contributing op-ed columnist at the Chicago Tribune, and the host of The Salim Muwakkil Show on WVON Radio.
Recorded Saturday, October 20, 2007 at Experimental Station.