OP-EDS

  /  

November 10, 2005

In Defense of Palestine Awareness Week

Whereas it is uncommon on this campus for an RSO to be called to justify or defend a week dedicated to bringing cultural awareness, necessity unfortunately compels me.

First, SGFC had nothing to do with either the poster or the International Solidarity Movement’s presentation. They co-sponsored a dance performance given by twenty Palestinian Refugees (between the ages of ten and thirteen) and a study break which will be held on November 14 which will include food, music, and a photo exhibit—and for this the Arab Union is grateful.

Second, the map posted in the Reynolds Club represented the region where the culture originates which is being showcased throughout the week. Many of the songs, the dances, and the photographs, and much of the cuisine—virtually every element of the culture on display—predate the creation of Israel 1948 and trace their roots to the entire British

Mandate of Palestine depicted on the poster. The poster thus represented the culture being celebrated this week.

Thirdly, the events that the Arab Union has sponsored or co-sponsored throughout the week include the following: the aforementioned dance performance; a lecture by Ali Abunimeh, a distinguished member of the UC community; a screening of Arna’s Children, a Jewish Israeli film production; and the aforementioned study break.

Fourth, the International Solidarity Movement (whose presentation, for the record, is not being sponsored by the Arab Union, by MSA, or by SGFC), “is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles” (according to its own website). The word “non-violent” appears twice in its mission statement, and the claim that it supports terror is entirely unfounded; the ISM has never hurt a soul.

Finally, the week is intended primarily as an expression of Palestinian culture. I regret any comments which equate the portrayal of Palestinian life and the celebration of Palestinian heritage with terrorism. It is hateful and absurd.