Always Liked South Side Irish Parade

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Always Liked South Side Irish Parade
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday, February 15, 2013

What would Chicago be without a real Irish Parade. Oh, they can do the one downtown, but that one doesn’t even come close to the parade that originated in 1979 on the South Side. But 30 years later, the 2009 parade was marred by more than 54 arrests.

It was cancelled for two years and restarted last year.

The parade had changed so much from when it started as a family focused neighborhood celebration of cultural heritage. The parade was an alley covered with emptied bottles and cans of booze. And when I brought my young son, we had to navigate through a drunken crowd of kids who couldn’t even be creative about swear words.

I always loved the South Side Irish Parade and I love Irish culture. I went to it almost every year. Of all my travels abroad, my favorite was Dublin, an Irish version of Dubai.

This year, the parade resumes on March 10 down Western Avenue, and I can’t wait to enjoy it.

The South Side parade is so much more fun than the one downtown.

There’s a fundraiser tonight (Friday Feb. 15) at Bourbon Street. Tickets are $30 each. Help them out.

Not every ethnic group is as organized as Chicagoland’s Irish. The Irish are adept at politics, which is more than just the art of getting elected to public office and managing government. Politics is a social talent involving people interaction and relationships. The elected folks gave it a bad name. But the Irish, more than any other ethnic community, I think, understand the essence of politics being in how you deal with people.

Maybe that’s why so many other ethnic groups are so bad at politics. They think it’s about empowerment when it really is about knowing how to make friends and dedicating yourself to serving the needs of the people in your community.

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Ah the first round of elections are just around the corner, Feb. 26. Most communities will vote on April 9 but some of my clients, including Cicero, vote on Feb. 26. Cicero is always at the top of the news cycle because it is so recognizable. It’s also controversial because of its past but it a changing place with many positive strides. That’s one reason I am back there. So many biased reporters out there, though. No wonder journalism is a dying profession.

How can a Pope who is chosen by the will of God resign from office? People are asking that in the wake of the announcements by Pope Benedict XVI who announced he is quitting the job. He turned in his two week notice, making many people wonder if the whole system is so unGodly after all. I understand the issue of Pope Benedict’s failing health. But I also understand the troubles of the Catholic Church involving pedophilia and abuse of boys by priests.

I took my son to Monster Jam at the AllState Arena. It was a great show. Always is. Best of all this year they had all the drivers in one room autographing program books. But I hate using Ticketmaster. This year they ripped me off, $30. I bought two “Tags,” souvenirs for my son and the Ticketmaster System didn’t worked right. Never got them. That’s the problem with ordering online.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is

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