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.

Download the episode below, or look it up on Stitcher or on iTunes. While you’re there, leave us some feedback and let us know how we’re doing.

[fold-audio url=”″]

Show Notes

• Here’s some background on why that tax aimed at funding the Convention Center expansion was recently shot down.

• Turns out the Convention Center needs more than an expansion: It needs a major overhaul. Read about its state of disrepair here.

• San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical got global attention this week when their experimental drug was used to treat two American aid workers infected with Ebola. They’re our Hero of the Week.

• Our Goat of the Week is SDPD’s Operation Secure San Diego, for its secrecy surrounding its non-operational surveillance network. Here’s what you need to know about the four-year-old initiative.

Gwyneth is an intern for Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.