Conference on Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings, November 17th

  • NYU, Silver Center Room 405
  • A Conference on
    Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings

    Sponsored by the MENA Solidarity Network-US
    and NYU Radical Film and Lecture Series

    Speakers include:
    Gilbert Achcar, Yasser Munif, Razan Ghazzawi, Nader Atassi, Budour Hassan, Ella Wind, Sara Ajlyakin, Leila Shrooms, Yusef Khalil 

    Sessions include: 
    Roots & Grassroots of Revolution: What led to the uprising, the socioeconomic roots, and grassroots organizing.
    Myth & Reality: Debunking myths about regime support for Palestine, anti-sectarianism, Kurdish rights, etc.
    Alternatives: International Solidarity, the Syrian diasporic struggle and the Left; global solidarity efforts
    Syria and the Arab Uprisings

    NYU Silver Center, Room 405
    Noon to 6 pm

    The MENA Solidarity Network-US promotes awareness of, and support for, the ongoing wave of mass revolutionary struggles in the Middle East and North Africa-­popularly known as the Arab Revolutions.

    We were founded by groups and individuals from the left and workers’ movements who recognized the need to oppose Western imperialist threats to attack Syria while also continuing to defend Syria’s popular revolution against the Assad dictatorship and its allies. We thus oppose all forms of imperialist intervention in the region while supporting popular struggles against all who would deny democratic rights or enforce economic exploitation. By the same token, we oppose all forms of Zionist expropriation of land and resources, apartheid and repression, while supporting Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

    We are committed to the principle of international solidarity from below, which supports the struggles of the oppressed against their oppressors in all of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Bahrain, and other countries.

    We call upon all groups and people who agree with us to join our network to oppose US intervention and help build solidarity with our brothers and sisters struggling for freedom and justice in the Middle East and North Africa.

    For more info on the Network:

    NYU’s Silver Center is in Manhattan, on the east side of Washington Square Park, between Waverly Place and Washington Place. The entrance is on Washington Place. 

    Subway: Silver Center is close to the West 4th Street stop (A, B, C, D, E, F, M trains), the 8th Street NYU stop (N, R, W trains) and the Astor Place stop (#6 train). 

    Wheelchair accessible. Photo ID is required for entrance.



Michael’s attorney, Lamis Jamal Deek, writes:

“Michael Williams: released today [October 4], two months in jail, 30 lbs thinner, because the NY DAs prosecute those protecting Muslim teens and themselves from racist attack.

“I had the great pleasure of seeing a thinner though still youthfully hopeful Michael Williams, today shortly after his release, after he served two months for his brave actions in protecting a group of Muslim Girls, and then himself, from a drunken racist. Despite the uncontroverted evidence that he was acting in self defense against the aggressor, Michael not only went to jail but must now pay restitution (upward of two-thousand dollars) or otherwise face imprisonment. He and his family have suffered great financial strain and still need your help. Please donate and forward widely.”


OLDER ENTRIES (including how to help financially)

For standing up to an anti-Muslim attack, Michael Williams is now serving a 90-day sentence at Rikers Island in New York City. Unless an appellate court grants bail pending appeal, his projected release date is October 6.

See this video news update:

As previously reported, Michael’s unjust felony conviction and sentence reflects escalating state repression against social justice activists, opponents of racism and defenders of civil liberties.

To support Michael, please:


Please help fight this unjust conviction by clicking the Donate button at:


Michael would love to hear from you! Send letters, books and other reading material to:

Michael Williams
Eric M. Taylor Center (EMTC)
10-10 Hazen Street
East Elmhurst, NY 11370


Items available at commissary make jail a little more bearable. To deposit funds in Michael’s inmate account, see:


Visiting hours, transportation, prohibited contraband and other details are posted at:

Please note that Michael is limited to two visits per week. To find out whether Michael has any remaining visits for the week, please contact the NYC Department of Correction Information Line at:
718-546-1500 (open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm). Michael’s “Book and Case Number” is 3601200203.

Because of the limit on number of visits and visitors per week, we encourage you to contact Andy Pollack at to help us coordinate visits.


Support Michael Williams!



Michael Williams was convicted of second-degree assault for defending young Muslim women against a hate-filled bigot. On August 10th he was sentenced to 90 days in prison and 5 years probation. His attorney has filed a motion asking for bail while his appeal is considered.
Check back at this website for updates on his case.
Michael Williams assaulted no one. He intervened verbally to protect the girls and after he was attacked he only defended himself.

But this case is not just about Michael Williams. Michael is being used as a message to all people who stand for their right to protest and against Anti-Muslim bigotry.

A short account of Michael’s arrest and trial is posted below.


On Jan.9, 2011, this gentle father of two, a union drywall taper, saw Muslim-hating bigot Joe Kenny harassing and abusing a group of teenage Muslim women who were going for pizza after a rally commemorating the massacre of Gaza.

Michael, a passionate believer in human rights, had traveled all the way from his home near Boston to take part in that rally. He had a bullhorn.

When he heard the bigot harassing young women, Michael said over his bullhorn that they had a right to be here and say what they believed. The outraged bigot then followed Michael into the street, physically assaulted Michael and left with his bullhorn.

Despite the pleas of the girls he was protecting, Michael was arrested and charged with Assault in the First Degree and endangering the welfare of a child, because the Kenny’s son had watched his father assault Michael.

After three days deliberation, the jury acquitted Michael of first-degree felony assault. The charge of endangering the welfare of a child (assailant Kenny’s son, who was allegedly present) was dismissed, but Michael was convicted of second-degree assault, for which he now faces up to seven years in prison.

Michael’s conviction — despite unchallenged evidence of self-defense — reflects the prosecution’s orchestrated campaign to punish and intimidate those who stand up against anti-Muslim bigotry and for Palestinian rights.

The prosecution was permitted to introduce grossly prejudicial rhetoric against defense witnesses, one of who was even questioned about his opposition to a U.S. war with Iran. A teenage girl was asked whether she believed Michael was a “martyr for the Palestinian cause.”

Michael and the young girls he defended have been doubly victimized in this case, first by a racist attack on Jan. 11, 2011, and then by an unfair and politically motivated witch-hunt in the court.