Canada’s most famous Palestinian resident, University of Toronto Professor Izzeldin Abuelaish, has been tirelessly working to demand an end to the current conflict that is costing the lives of so many civilians in Gaza, his homeland.
Dr. Abuelaish knows firsthand the crushing loss that these conflicts bring to ordinary Gazan families. When an Israeli missile crashed through his house his three daughters and niece were killed in Gaza in 2009. But Dr. Abuelaish vowed not to hate and wrote a memoir, ‘I Shall Not Hate’, calling for an end to the occupation and the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians that he saw as responsible for the death of his family members.
Gaza, and Palestine in general, has always been portrayed through the gory images of bombings, the dead and the injured, bloodshed and tons of rubble and destruction. Although this is an ugly reality that should never be concealed from the eyes of the international audience that observe the goings-on in Palestine through the media, there is no personal connection that is made with the Palestinian people where they can be recognized for the things that make people human. What many people end up being surprised to realize is that Gaza, outside the scope of war and violence, is a beautiful city full of people that are immersed with the love for their culture, traditions, cuisine, history, and nation.
In a groundbreaking event, on Sept. 19th Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki delivered a public speech at the University of Ottawa's Huguette Labelle Hall.
In his speech entitled “Palestine: Current Challenges and Prospects for Peace” Minister Malki highlighted the lessons learned in the past 20 years since the Oslo Agreement was initiated, and how this interim peace offer has affected the Palestinian people and the overall political environment of this volatile region. Minister Malki expressed his sadness over the conflict that has affected the area for decades, stating how disheartening it is that such violence is being witnessed in a land where “people of every religion greet each other with ”˜Peace'”.
Carleton University's Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) continued their Israeli Apartheid Week on Tuesday Feb. 6 with the showing of the acclaimed independent documentary, Budrus. The movie showed aspects of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, and was a part of SAIA's aim to dispel myths on the occupation of Palestine.
“Alongside the misconception that Palestinians resist the occupation by Israel with violence are the myths that women are less involved than men, and that young people in Palestine take a backseat when it comes to speaking out,” Dax D'Orazio, a SAIA member said.
“This film really breaks those myths, and we wanted to show that women and youth are really at the forefront of a lot of nonviolent protests that take place in Palestine, be it against the apartheid wall in the West Bank or in other areas,” he said.