Portsmouth & Palestine - University Twin? “La tqool la lemghanni ghanni illa tayghanni la7aaloh". Let the singer sing, when ready

Portsmouth-Palestine Awareness Week: | February 28, 2007

Wall 

 

Intellectual Property of Ben Norman 

The 19th-23rd of February saw students from the Arab society and Socialist Student Society stage the first Portsmouth Palestine Awareness Week.  Through out the week we held film nights and organised a mass meeting with speakers from the Green Party and the Aid worker agency Palestine solidarity movement. On Friday the 23rd we constructed our own partition wall outside the Union to raise awareness of the deplorable conditions the Palestinian people have to survive under occupation.  The week had three main aims: 

  • To raise awareness of the Humanitarian crisis inPalestine
  • To call forPortsmouth
    University not to Invest in the arms trade and companies which profit from the occupation
  • To call for the University to promote the Palestinian right top education by twinning with a University inPalestine.

  

Imagine having to carry an ID card everywhere you went. Imagine having to queue for hours and show your I.D at one of 500 checkpoints scattered around your town. Imagine living with the fear that your house could be seized or simply demolished without a moments notice. Imagine your town was surrounded by a vast wall turning your community into little more then an open prison. Imagine a situation where the hospitals, the police, the fire service the education system had simply stopped running due to lack of funding. Imagine trying to live in these conditions, welcome to life under occupation.   This year is the 40th anniversary of the occupation, the longest military occupation in modern history and is also the year that will witness the completion of the Israeli partition wall. This wall is three times the size of the Berlin wall complete with enough barbwire to stretch between London and
Zurich. Both the United Nations and the International criminal court have declared the wall illegal yet it still stands. It lays siege to entire Palestinian towns, it cuts though homes, its annexes land, it destroys businesses, schools and Universities. Indeed Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem has been cut in half by the wall. This means that students simply can’t get to lectures, or access their Union without finding ways through the wall and risking being shot. The Palestine twinning initiative set up in 2001 has so far twinned nine British universities, most recently Cardiff and Leeds. We’re calling for our University to join this initiative, to promote education as the only route to peace.
 
We are also calling upon the University not to invest in the arms trade. Last year the British government gifted £24 Million of military aid to the Israeli government in the form of cluster bombs, surface to air missiles, land rovers and tank parts. These were in turn used to such devastating in the invasion of the Lebanon last august. The Campaign against the arms trade (CAAT) has called for universities not to invest in companies such as BAE systems of Lockheed Martin who manufacture these weapons. British students should not see their top-up fees, or tuition fees being invested directly into war crimes.      Students from many societies came together and made the week a success. To build the wall we had students from The Arab Society, The Socialist Students, Respect, and the Islamic society, The Feminist Society, People and Planet as well as many other individual students. The main organisers of the week have previously been involved in last years “killer Coke” campaign, the Anti-Top up fees protest in November, took part in the recent Stop the War rally and aim to continue to campaign on issues of crucial importance to students.   Special thanks must go to Lana Mansour, President of the Arab Society and also to Ryan Cloke President of the Socialist Students for frantically organising this week and getting the campaign off the ground.  However it does not stop here! In order to make the campaign a success we’re still collecting signatures to present to Union council and make our aims a reality.   We also plan to stage an event at Societies Carnival in May and in June there will be a national demo in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the occupation. 

 

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Got to start somewhere. Can't sit on the fence anymore or should there be a fence at all?

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