Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998



Within right to protest

Re: Celebration of Israel disrupted, Jan.20

To the Editor:
First, the public relations officer for the JSU, Michael Bloom, said that this celebration was not intended to be a political celebration. Why then celebrate the birth of a country from the beginning? Wouldn't that, coupled with the story of the "war of liberation," carry a political message in its own right?

Second, Bloom is quoted saying "there are [those] who [don't] accept Israel because they want a completely Arab area." Most of the protests concerning Israel on campus have been rather focused around the human rights abuses against the Arabs in Israel, so I don't understand what this statement even means.

Third, if the event is truly non-political, why would the JSU be so concerned about someone who seems, as the articles suggest, to be doing nothing except wearing a certain style of garment and distributing flyers expressing a political opinion? And how does that disrupt the activities of the JSU? Is freedom of expression considered to be an offense in this case?

Last, Michi Ishai was mentioned saying that there was "a person walking around in chains and the kids were traumatised." I understand what Michi is trying to say, but the truth is, there are thousands and thousands of Palestinian kids who were severely traumatised and permanently damaged, physically and/or psychologically, by the actions of Jewish settlers and the Israeli army, both actions which were directly or indirectly sanctioned by the Israeli authority itself. Even now such abuses are still going on in Israeli held territories.

Example: There was a Palestinian kid whose face was totally burned by a flame bomb thrown into his home by Jewish settlers and he lost most of his family in that attack. He was three-years-old at the time of the attack. There was a picture of him after the attack which is gruesome beyond description. All human features of his face are gone. If truth is traumatising, then reality is even more shocking.

The point is, there are a lot of gruesome events which happen upon the Arab community in both Israel and, especially, in the territories occupied by Israel. If protesting such actions during the celebration of Israel are considered to be an offense and unacceptable, then I don't know what would be left of one's right to express his/her own opinion. I think protesting the human rights abuses that happen in any part of the world, regardless of location or time, should not be looked at as hate-mongering, but rather as an attempt to change things for the better for all.

Asser Hassanain
Computer Science IV

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998