One of the first and loudest voices to speak up for Iraqi citizens besieged by extremist group ISIS came from San Diego.
Mark Arabo isn’t just president and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association, a trade group of liquor stores and small markets. He’s also a national representative for the Chaldean, or Christian Iraqi, community. San Diego is home to one of the nation’s largest. President Obama’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. would carry out targeted airstrikes against ISIS and deliver humanitarian aid to Iraq brought him some relief after a weeks-long campaign.
“[Obama] put hope in a hopeless situation,” Arabo said. “I was getting phone calls from families [in San Diego] that were showing me images of their children, of their brothers, their sisters being beheaded [in Iraq] … We can’t turn a blind eye on crimes against humanity.”
Fresh from his trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes to address what he called a full-blown genocide, Arabo joined Scott Lewis and Caty Green on the VOSD Radio podcast. They covered the threats facing Chaldeans, how El Cajon became a hub for the community and what he hopes to accomplish in his work representing small businesses.
Jump to 22:18 to hear what Arabo had to say.