Taking sides won't help solving Gaza's troubles

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the editor:
On March 12, a human chain was formed on campus for human rights. It called for an end to the killing of innocent civilians in Palestine. During mourning for many Palestinian students on campus, Israeli groups attempted to counteract the activism.

Standing around the human chain, students waved Israeli flags. The Palestinians held their flags and remained silent. Screaming still seemed to fill the air as Israelis proclaimed their right to a state.

The human chain event was not a political one, but rather a matter of human rights. The message sent by the Israeli groups was not a good one.

When the event ended, I saw extreme levels of immaturity. Students began yelling back and forth, and at one point I heard an Israeli student screaming, “I got it on tape, I got it on tape,” to hold evidence of hateful words.

It is no secret many [on both sides have disdain for one another], but we are university students. People on both ends need to open their minds and listen to what the other group has to say rather than causing commotion.

During the event, I thought of the eight Israeli lives and mourned over the 128 Palestinians killed in recent attacks, as well as the thousands killed on both sides to date, the majority being Palestinian.

The human chain was a success, although the events afterwards made me quite sad. The Israelis at the event need to realize that the participants were not contesting their right to a state.

My grandmother was killed during the first Israeli-Lebanese war and my nephews and sister lived through the second, but I realize those who put my family through pain are not students at Western and I do not hate them.

It was a day of mixed emotions, but when it was all over it was a sad day to be a Western student. Hatred towards one another will only breed more hate. Injustice will never prevail.
"Houda El-Birani
Religious Studies II

To the editor:
First off, I would like to point out that the human chain protest was being planned and organized for two weeks. The Rabbinical school shooting happened on March 6, which is only days ago.

This is to clarify to anyone that will try to link the vigil organized by Hillel to this event. There is no link; if one exists, then by logic it is Hillel/Israel on Campus that organized its event on the same day as us.

Secondly, I found it insulting that some people tried to harass participants in the human chain. These people were protesting the killing of innocent people in Gaza. How could you possibly try to ruin that?

As far as the event goes, I have a feeling of gratitude to all the people that came down there and made it successful and touching. It was sad that some individuals couldn’t act in a civilized manner, but had to resort to yelling and intimidating.

It’s unfortunate for you, but we came here and we did it because it had to be done, and the world has to know about the cycle of bloodshed that is going on [in Gaza].

The worst part for me during the protest was when [somebody] came up to me and mockingly asked me if he should lend me an Israeli flag to burn. We were there to peacefully protest the killing of innocent people, not to burn flags.

I think what I’ve seen Wednesday gave me a lot to think about this past weekend. I attended both the vigil and the human chain, because when it comes to innocent human lives, none of us should take sides.
"Tarik Mody
Biochemistry III

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