Volume 93, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 15, 2000


Revelation or drunkenness

Words more offensive than any actions

Words more offensive than any actions

Re: "ASA, MSA protest atrium celebration" March 10

To the Editor:

This letter is intended to explain the silent protest that took place last week at the Jewish Students' Union's celebration of Israel Day.

The protest, which was put on by concerned students across campus, took place because we were very disappointed with the JSU's decision to put up the Israeli flag. The flag represents an Israeli government which has built a country upon atrocities and injustices towards the Palestinians.

We were not protesting, nor will we ever protest Jewish culture or Jewish celebrations. However, we are more than compelled to stand up against the Israeli flag, which represents a government that has occupied and refused entry to Palestinians who have lived there for generations. In fact, there were many people supporting the protest who cannot visit their homeland, or have been forced out of their homeland because of the Israeli government.

That aside, I must say we were very disappointed with the University Students' Council's actions, especially VP-campus issues Perry Monaco's comments about the event. Monaco was quoted in Friday's Gazette saying, "I'm frustrated with the lack of respect that is being shown in general, with people not allowing people to do what they want. There are other avenues and other ways than disrupting an event."

Monaco's comments were not only disappointing, they were very insulting to all those involved in staging the silent protest. Monaco's comments talk about a lack of respect because we didn't allow the JSU to do what they wanted, when in fact both sides successfully got their points across in a very democratic way. Monaco, more than anyone, knew how we spent many meetings trying to convince the JSU not to put up their flag because of its offensive nature, but they refused.

The JSU, USC and University Police Department were all informed ahead of time of the silent protest and what the intentions were behind it. They knew that we were not trying to disrupt Israel Day. We were left with no choice other than to explain our frustration with the Israeli flag through a peaceful silent protest.

I can distinctly remember last year in a meeting with Monaco, Arab Students' Association executives, JSU executives and Fiona Hart from University Equity Services, Monaco expressed how the Israeli flag offended us and even suggested trying to rename Israel Day to Jewish Day. I think the day's events reiterated how great and diversified Western can be, allowing two parties to get both messages across in a peaceful and civilized manner.

It really concerns me, however, that the VP-campus issues, whose job it is to make sure every group on campus is properly represented and heard, could speak such words.

Samer Abou-Sweid
ASA President (1998-99)
Maher El-Abdallah
Computer Science II

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