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Orange County Focus

SANTA ANA : Peace-Seeker Odeh to Get Memorial

September 22, 1993|JON NALICK

The City Council will allow a statue in memory of Alex M. Odeh, who was killed in a 1985 bomb blast at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee office, to be permanently placed at the main library.

The council enthusiastically approved a plan to accept and display the bronze statue, which will be installed on April 4, which would have been Odeh's 50th birthday. The statue would be placed on the northeast lawn of the library at 26 Civic Center Plaza.

At the meeting, Mayor Dan Young thanked Odeh's family, friends and supporters who were present, including former Irvine mayor and former U.S. presidential candidate Larry Agran and radio and television personality Casey Kasem.

"We're looking forward to the project and to honor your husband's memory," Young told Odeh's widow, Norma Odeh.

Alex Odeh worked for the Anti-Discrimination Committee when he was killed and sought harmony and nonviolent change in the Middle East, a staff report said.

At the meeting, Khalil Bendib, Odeh's friend, told the council that "Alex extended his hand in peace to people who were supposed to be his enemies when it was still dangerous to do so."

Because Odeh was both a teacher and a poet, Bendib said that placing the statue at the library will be especially appropriate.

The six-foot statue will depict Odeh in a classic Roman-style robe, holding a book in one hand and with a dove perched on the other. The $60,000 cost of the statue will be raised by Odeh's friends, Bendib said.

Later, Kasem thanked the council for its cooperation and added that Odeh "is a man who deserves everything we can do for him in (honoring) his memory."

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