APW Book Club – 4/22/23 with Elizabeth Graham
Karen Lateiner is inviting you to the April Book Club Meeting
Topic: Homeless Initiative project and book-in-progress with Elizabeth Graham
Date: Saturday, April 22, 2023
Time: 10 a.m. Arizona
Zoom: To be sent to book club members the week before and on request to others.
In a break from our traditional format, we will be discussing a book that had not yet been published. Instead, this is an opportunity for us to hear about the book Elizabeth is working on and provide feedback. Surely this will be a meeting you won’t want to miss. Karen
BRIEF HISTORY OF THIS PROJECT AND BOOK: THE HOMELESS INITIATIVE – A 501©3 Nonprofit Organization
On a foggy, wintery night in 1999, I was smuggled across the Amu Darya River from Turkmenistan into Afghanistan. At this time, I was the Chief of Party in Central Asia for Mercy Corps International – a $30+ million dollar operation overseeing projects in five countries. The U.S. Government wanted an American’s assessment of Afghan women barely surviving under the Taliban regime. I wore a blue burqa and was provided local footwear, but I was still assaulted – a Taliban male hit me on the back of my head with his rifle butt because I looked up (to gather information) instead of looking down at the ground. This consulting task concluded that the West could do little to change Afghanistan at that time.
Two years later, the 9/11 attack on American soil propelled President Bush to declare “War on Terrorism” targeting Afghanistan in his quest to find Osama bin Laden. This war cost $2.313 trillion dollars and 243,000 lives were lost. (www.watson.brown.edu/costsofwar.) For 20 years (2001 to 2021) American soldiers bombarded cities and futilely searched almost every cave in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was not found in a cave nor in Afghanistan, but in a large home in Pakistan – an entirely different country. He was killed in 2011, but American soldiers continue to wage war in Afghanistan for another ten years!
In January 2023, I launched a Resettlement Program in Arizona called The Homeless Initiative. This project has several rationales. First, we intend to provide transitional solutions to a minimum of 1,000 refugees (or more) desiring new lives in the United States. Second, we are creating a social marketing publication – a “coffee table” book – that will reflect their lives in their home countries and illuminating their reasons for fleeing – (1) Afghani’s under Russian, American, and Taliban occupation, and (2) Ukrainian refugees due to war. This social marketing book is intended to persuade American citizens to accept and empathize with refugee integration into U.S. society – a country whose history and political structure are based entirely on the intellect of former immigrants and refugees.
The plight of refugees or immigrants equates to the story of “how to build a ship in a bottle.” The ship embodies this current wave of desperate human beings, and the bottle denotes the borders of the United States. What happens to these immigrants/refugees in their early years in the U.S. will affect how productive they are as citizens in our democracy. Each of them will pay taxes and many of them will work in the fields to support our country’s food chain. Each of us across the U.S. must ask ourselves how much this new community of immigrants will enrich our country – and the rational response is just as much as our own ancestors did decades or centuries ago.
Elizabeth Graham is the author of Democrazy Version 2020: A Warning to All U.S. Citizens. She has spoken to the Book Club previously about her book and experiences.
“I had a TOP SECRET Security Clearance by my sixteenth birthday, and was working in my father’s office at the age of seventeen. He was the head of a CIA undercover U.S. West Coast operation. I continued CIA employment for many years. By my mid-thirties, I worked with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in Denver, Colorado – also with a TOP SECRET clearance. As the Data Base Manager for the largest Russian-language military, technical, and intelligence library in the United States, we did C3 analysis and played the “red” team on the White House War Games. I was taught to read, write, and speak Russian. I began traveling to the Soviet Union and over time became one of the few Americans living and working in Russia for decades. I became bicultural and this unique perspective on Russia and their relationship with the United States is the essential ingredient and the warning inferred in this book [Democrazy].”