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Student societies around the world stood up for the Right 2 Education by hosting events in solidarity with their Palestinian counterparts during 2013’s Right 2 Education week.
The week is a global movement, supported by the Right 2 Education Campaign at Birzeit University, which seeks to highlight and raise awareness of the difficulties accessing education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Education in Palestine has been subjected to frequent attacks by the institutions of the occupation, despite its recognition as a universal human right. These attacks help to create systemic inequality as future success chances dwindle. Restrictions on movement, restrictions on the importation of goods, and occasions of violence have fuelled an issue which is created, and is solvable, by policymakers.
The international student community spoke with a strong voice in opposing these actions as they organised across Europe and North America. These events coincided with similar ones taking place at Birzeit University.
The first day of the week saw events taking place at The University of Manchester, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, The London School of Economics and Political Science, National University of Ireland (Galway), University of Leeds, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and The University of Edinburgh. Events ranged from film screenings to talks and information stands.
As the week progressed more universities participated and students in Palestine linked up via video messaging to their international colleagues to discuss as ‘face to face’ as possible their situation. Mu’men Iwaidah, a Palestinian volunteer on the campaign, spoke of the importance of such conversations.
“When talking to solidarity groups from around the world we felt like we were penetrating the occupation’s control over the media. By telling our story we transfer the truth that everyone should know. We defend our right to education, we defend our right to freedom here and in the rest of the world, and we really appreciate the role that international groups play in reaching the truth alongside us.”
A summary from the international perspective was provided by Brooklyn College’s Students for Justice in Palestine Group. Their statement summed up the views of many international organisers.
“In light of Right to Education Week 2013, Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College organized three events last week. On Tuesday Nov 12th, members of SJP and allies expressed solidarity with Palestinians by holding signs and banners in the middle of campus. The response was overwhelmingly positive and BC SJP handed out a ton of literature. Students were excited and asked if they could take pictures with our signs and banners. Many students were surprised and upset to find out Israel is denying Palestinians their universal right to an education based on the fact that they are Palestinian and asked how they could get involved to change this. Our next two events on Wednesday and Thursday, were aimed at exposing US complicity with Israel’s crimes and Israel’s system of apartheid. We saw a lot of new faces at both events and people got a better sense of Israeli apartheid and occupation. As part of the broader Palestine solidarity movement, BC SJP is proud of its efforts to bring the Palestinian narrative to our campus and community. We thank the team of R2EW for allowing us to be part of this year’s campaign and are excited to work with you in the future.”
Right 2 Education week was a huge success and achieved its objectives of raising awareness. The need for a global movement to stand up for the rights of Palestinians is as important now as it has ever been. There is great despair that behind the 8 metre wall encircling what is left of Palestinian land, those who pay the taxes that fund the denial of their rights enjoy them to the fullest extent and with the support of the global superpowers. Convincing the public in the nations around the world of the situation on the ground, against the media’s presentations, is one of the most important ways in tackling this man-made inequality. Right 2 Education Week 2013 played a small but important role in doing so and the campaign will continue to struggle until freedom and equality is reached.
Full list of events:
Manchester University Action Palestine – Tears of Gaza Film Screening
NTNU Til Palestina – Information stand and photo exhibition
LSE Pal Soc and UN Soc – Talk on education in Pal refugee camps
NUIG Pal Soc – Remember Palestine: Gaza Educational Systems film screening
Leeds Pal Sol – Information stall
Rutgers NB SJP – General meeting with speakers from LEAP and Project Hope
Edinburgh SJP = Checkpoint outside library, weekly meeting.
Manchester AP – Stunt
Durham FOP – Mock checkpoint, talk from Gazan student
Birmingham Pal Soc – talk on academic boycott
NTNU Til Palestina – Promises film screening
Columbia SJP – ‘the mis-education of settler colonialism: challenging school curricula’
Leeds Pal Sol – Stall, Gazan student talk
Brooklyn College SJP – Stall, flyering, banners
John Jay College SJP – Talk fand Q+A Session
Rutgers SJP – Talk on ‘Zionism and Palestine’
UCL Pal Soc – Stall on campus
University of Wolverhampton VOP – Art exhibition
Brooklyn College Skype
Manchester Ap – Video link with An Najah University
NTNU TP – photo exhibition
University of British Columbia SPHR – Info stall
Leeds Pal Sol – A Caged Bird’s Song Film Screening
Brooklyn College SJP – Talk on US Complicity
Goldsmiths, UoL Pal and Amnesty – Jerusalem’s East Side Story film screening
University of Wolv VoP – Talk on bringing occupation home
Stay Human London Skype
Birmingham University Skype
University of Manchester Skype
Birmingham FoP – Info Stall
NTNU Tp – Open meeting and photo exhibit
NUI Galway Pal Sol – Street interview
Leeds Pal Sol – info stall
Brooklyn SJP – Talk
Drew SJP – Talk
UCL – Info stall
Wolves VoP – Letter writing
University of Wolverhampton Skype