Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Never mind Copenhagen, an environmental catastrophe is going on right now – contaminated water is poisoning babies in Gaza


Taken from Victoria Brittain's article in the Guardian, Wednesday, Dec 9th, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/dec/09/gaza-children-palestinian-babies

Among all the complex and long-term solutions being sought in Copenhagen for averting environmental catastrophe across the world, there is one place where the catastrophe has already happened, but could be immediately ameliorated with one simple political act.

In Gaza there is now no uncontaminated water; of the 40,000 or so newborn babies, at least half are at immediate risk of nitrate poisoning – incidence of "blue baby syndrome", methaemoglobinaemia, is exceptionally high; an unprecedented number of people have been exposed to nitrate poisoning over 10 years; in some places the nitrate content in water is 300 times World Health Organisation standards; the agricultural economy is dying from the contamination and salinated water; the underground aquifer is stressed to the point of collapse; and sewage and waste water flows into public spaces and the aquifer.

The blockade of Gaza has gone on for nearly four years, and the vital water and sanitation infrastructure went past creaking to virtual collapse during the three-week assault on the territory almost a year ago.

What would it take to start the two UN sewerage repair projects approved by Israel; a UN water and sanitation project, not yet approved; and two more UN internal sewage networks, not yet approved? Right now just one corner of the blockade could be lifted for these building materials and equipment to enter Gaza, to let water works begin and to give infant lives a chance. Just one telephone call from the Israeli defence ministry could do it – an early Christmas present to the UN staff on the ground who have been ready to act for months and have grown desperate on this front, as on so many others.

Earlier this year, just one question face to face to the Israeli government, from Senator John Kerry after he visited Gaza, allowed pasta into Gaza. Who from Europe or the US will ask the Israeli defence minister the face-to-face question for the blue babies? Sarah Brown, the British prime minister's wife, would be the perfect candidate – an independent person who has the ear of the powerful, a mother who knows something about grief for babies. And she could be accompanied by Lord Mandelson in case there was any bullying.

The science on all this is unchallenged. Last September a UN report spelled it out in stark detail, including the regional implications for Israel and Egypt if the shared aquifer is not "rested" and alternative water sources found. The United Nations Environment Programme estimated that $1.5bn could be needed over 20 years to restore the aquifer, including the establishment of desalination plants to take the pressure off the underground water supplies.

Gaza's huge pale sandy beaches used to be society's playground and reassurance of happiness and normality, with families picnicking, horses exercising, fishermen mending their nets, children swimming and boys exercising in the early morning, but these days they are mainly empty, and not just because it is winter. Between 50m and 60m litres of untreated sewage have flowed into the Mediterranean every day this year since the end of the Israeli invasion in January, the sea smells bad and few fish are available in the three nautical mile area Palestinians are allowed in. This resource seems as ruined as the rubble of Gaza's parliament and ministries.

A visitor to Gaza could miss this underground disaster, seeing what the surreal economy of the tunnels from Egypt has brought in: a chic new coffee house, with new furniture and prints on the wall, which would not be out of place in Piccadilly, fish from Oman for restaurants, fat sheep and goats for the Eid feast, new cars reassembled after being cut into four, huge motorbikes straight out of Easy Rider, bustling markets full of foods, clothes, fridges, washing machines, pharmaceuticals, some brought in to order, and much more. Some people are getting very rich on both sides of the Rafah border.

But the tunnels are a small slice of the reality. "We have run out of words to describe how bad it is here," says John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza. Ging heads a team of 10,000 mainly Palestinian workers who run the aid supplies that are all that stand between the vast majority of Gazans and destitution. "We have 80% unemployment, an economy at subsistence level, infrastructure destroyed, etc, but even worse than the humanitarian plight is the destruction of civil society."

Ging's great preoccupation is "the 750,000 children susceptible to an environment where things are moving rapidly in the wrong direction, where the injustice is bewildering, and every day worse".

There is a big problem of insecurity and violence here, and it is getting worse. Most adults display stoic resilience, and cling to a belief in traditional values, but there is a compelling narrative by extremists which becomes ever more difficult to combat. Only lifting the siege would change the dynamic.

An international community that has accepted the "normalcy" of the degrading tunnel economy for Gaza, shames us all. Ending the water emergency should be the first step to breaking the blockade.

(Taken from Victoria Brittain's article in the Guardian, Wednesday, Dec 9th 2009 : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/dec/09/gaza-children-palestinian-babies)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Twinning Motion Passed!

Today, at the Queen Mary's Student Union Council meeting, the motion (as copied in previous article)passed. So QM SU is now officially twinned with the Islamic University of Gaza!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Islamic University of Gaza Twinning Motion

Hopefully, we'll pass this motion- will keep you updated so watch this space!

Peace & Solidarity
QM Stop the War Coalition

-This union notes:
1. That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises equal right to all, including “Everyone has the right to education.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26)
2. That the Islamic University of Gaza is the largest university in Palestine.
3. That the IUG is a member of the International Association of Universities, Community of Mediterranean Universities and others, and that it won many prestigious awards including the Galileo International Prize for optics amongst others. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
4. That the IUG is an independent institution free of any political party or group strongholds over it. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
5. That on Sunday 28th December 2008, IUG was bombarded and two-six-storey buildings housing all of the university laboratories belonging to the colleges of IT, engineering and science were totally devastated (BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7802515.stm) (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
6. That before its bombing there were over 20,000 students at the IUG able to study with full resources. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
7. That the president of the IUG, Dr Kamalain Sha’ath wrote to Queen Mary students during the occupation of fb113 to express the need for help and aid from students in the UK since the Israeli bombing of it. One of his requests was that UK universities twin with the IUG.
8. That a motion held at an EGM declared Israel an apartheid state. Therefore, as Israel is the occupying force in Gaza and West Bank, Palestinians in the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ are the victims of apartheid. Now, various significant political figures have said the same; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a black South African leading activist in the ANC (African National Congress that lead the movement) said on his visit to the Holy Land, “it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa", referring to the treatment of Palestinians in the hands of the Israeli state. More recently, the SA Trade Union, the country’s largest umbrella group of trade unions, has also voted to condemn the Israeli apartheid state and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians- many of these members experienced apartheid at the hands of the white Afrikaners, so they understand apartheid more so than others. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/29/comment) (www.ynetnews.com)
9. That international solidarity with students suffering from apartheid played an important role in the South African apartheid movement. The ANC Youth League (of which Nelson Mandela first joined) had a huge part in the campaign for freedom for black and Indian South Africans, and today the ANC talk of the importance of international student cooperation. One example is of students around the world meeting at their own universities and gathering support and funds for those SA students. (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom)
10. That since 2007 Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza barring people, goods, aid (though some charities like the VIVA Palestina Convoy and DEC are able to get in) and much needed materials like cement for rebuilding damaged houses, from both entering and leaving Gaza. (BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7545636.stm) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/21/israel-gaza-strip-middle-east)
11. That amongst other outcomes, this is having a detrimental impact on student life, from what we may call simple things like textbooks and paper barred from coming in to Gaza, to bigger problems, like the psychological effects suffered by many young Palestinians. (Medical Aid for Palestinians: www.map-uk.org) The humanitarian crisis also inevitably means that students are unable to carry on their studies due to illnesses that cannot be treated (over half of all hospitals in Gaza were bombed by the IDF during its assault, 40 clinics were damaged and 2 completely destroyed. Patients cannot leave Gaza to receive treatment in Egypt or Israel where many would normally have gone) and having to look after family members. Due to unemployment, which is a result of the blockade and bombing, parents can no longer afford to pay university fees for their children. (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3669379,00.html)
12. That it is a commonly held British, and also universal principle that all people have the right to education. Nevertheless, simple and also important advantages and rights that we enjoy as students in the UK are constantly being violated for Palestinian students. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/12/israelandthepalestinians.unitednations)

-This union believes:
1. That all people have the right to education (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26)
2. In the importance of solidarity and the difference that it makes to victims of war, apartheid and foreign blockades.
3. That international solidarity was an important factor in the struggle against South African apartheid and can also be in the new struggle against Israeli apartheid.
4. Thus it is our responsibility as Queen Mary students who live in a safe environment, and are more fortunate than many other students around the world, that we mobilise to support those students in the face of oppression and persecution, to help give them better chances at education as they deserve.
5. That the IUG lists Queen Mary as one of many universities in the UK that acted in solidarity with them- this is a new precedence set for QM. That we have this new status is a fact that we should be proud of, and aim to increase and maintain in the struggle for freedom.

-This union resolves:
1. That QMSU twins with the Islamic University of Gaza as an act of solidarity for the damage done to the institution since the bombing, the current blockade on anything or anyone leaving or entering Gaza, and as solidarity to students who are victims of apartheid by doing the following:
I. To bring to the attention to heads of staff at QM the possibility of joint academic and scientific research between the two universities and teaching staff.
II. Encourage Provide to communicate volunteering opportunities in the Palestinian Occupied Territories
III. Look at sponsoring exchange visits for teachers and students; one possible aim is short-term training, attending courses, conferences, workshops, seminars
IV. That QMSU will publicise and support any academics and students who come on exchange visits to QM
V. To promote sponsoring subscription to limited online journals, databases, e-books or e-libraries to heads of library
2. That the SU post information of the twinning to students in QMessenger, through Global Email and other means.
3. That the principle and the QM management are told of this twinning project, and asked by the SU to support it.
4. That the SU do what is possible to convey this twinning project to the wider community, for example through press releases, and informing other Student Unions.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Great Short Film About Checkpoints In Palestine- Winner of Ctrl Alt Shift Competition

This film, directed by Alexandra Monro and Sheila Menon Mentor highlights the daily suffering of Palestinians. Its 7 minutes longs and a definitely a great watch! This must-see should be passed on to everyone you know...

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/this-is-pure-genius.html

Peace,
Queen Mary Stop the War Coalition

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Watch 10 Minute Play About Gaza On Line

The Guardian have posted Caryl Churchill's acclaimed 10 minute play, 'Seven Jewish Children' on line to watch for free. The play is response to Gaza and will be performed in Hackney theatre on May on Thursday 21st May. For more details on the live performance, you can email us on qmoccupation@gmail.com

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/video/2009/apr/25/seven-jewish-children-caryl-churchill

Friday, 24 April 2009

Israel Continues To Steal Palestinian Land

Yesterday, The Independent reported on the destruction of a Palestinian home in Jerusalem by the Israeli Interior Ministry. The destruction of such homes will be replaced by a new Israeli Jewish settlers headquarters going against International law.

Read the full article here- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-defies-us-and-destroys-palestinian-home-1672716.html

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sheffield University In Occupation!

Students at Sheffield University occupied a lecture theater in the Hicks building at 7:15pm today.

The students decided to occupy in solidarity with the people of Gaza and in response to the University Administration and Vice Chancellor’s uncooperative approach towards student’s previous list of demands.

Check out their blog on: www.sheffoccupied.blogspot.com

Monday, 9 March 2009

Palestinian Women Visit Today, Monday 9th at 4

Today, at 4 o'clock in FB113 (yes, that's the room we occupied!) we have some women from Palestine coming to speak to us. They live in the West Bank and are part of a tour of Palestinian women coming to the UK as part of a twinning project with Tower Hamlets and Jenin.

Everyone is welcome and you will all get the opportunity to ask questions and talk to the women. Hope to see you all there...


Viva Palestina!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Huge Victory for UEL Occupation!

UEL Occupation have won all their demands today and left room EB 1.04 this evening shouting 'Free Free Palestine!' A full list of accepted demands will be on their blog soon.


VIVA VIVA PALESTINA!

Victory for Cardiff Occupation!


The occupation of Cardiff University has ended with success as Cardiff University acceded to the occupiers’ key demand – to divest from the arms trade. Cardiff University have given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest. Check it out in full on theor blog...
http://occupiedcardiff.blogspot.com/


VIVA VIVA PALESTINA!

West Bank: 50 Students Arrested

On February 18th 2009 in the early hours of the morning, Occupation forces rampaged through the West Bank village of Jayyous conducting violent house to house raids and carrying out mass arrests totalling over 50 students and nearly the entire youth committee of Stop the Wall Campaign.

For months the youth movement in Jayyous had made it one of the most active villages in the West Bank , embodying a strained resistance against occupation and the wall which will carve through village land destroying hundreds of olive trees and cutting the village off from many of its primary water supplies. Read more...
http://sussexoccupation.blogspot.com/2009/02/call-to-action-solidarity-with-arrested.html

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Check Out UEL Demo...


The latest pictures from UEL show their demonstration. Check out their blog for more information on their Occupation...

Viva Palestina!

Watch this Video...

Check out this video on the Cagliari University (Sardinia, Italy) blog. The text is in Italian, but its not really important as the actual footage is good. It really illustrates the plight of the Palestinians in terms of the Israeli controlled checkpoints and the illegal wall.

http://gruppofalastin.wordpress.com/


Viva Palestina!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cardiff University & Plymouth University in Occupation!



Cardiff and Plymouth have both gone in to Occupation is solidarity with the people of Gaza. Check out their blogs- the links are on our Solidarity section.

Send them messages of support...

Viva Palestina!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Victory at Extraordinary General Meeting!

At an EGM Yesterday, (Tues 24) at 6pm, we successfully passed a list of 9 motions with a complete majority! Thank you to all the students who turned up to vote. The full is shown below...

Again thank you for all your support, and don't forget to attend our weekly meetings on Monday, at 4pm in FB113.


VIVA VIVA PAESTINA!


THIS UNION RESOLVES
1. To support a day of fundraising for humanitarian relief for Gaza, with all proceeds to be given to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
2. To pressure the university to send surplus equipment and to organise, through the Union, to provide logistical support for the collection of this aid.
3. To join the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by
divesting from Israel and boycotting all companies that support or benefit from
the Israeli occupation and lobbying the University to adopt a similar BDS policy
towards Israel, and to build links with student unions and other trade unions who
adopt a BDS policy.
4. To condemn the University for its lack of progress in divesting from arms
companies and ending all research in weapons manufacturing. And to adopt a
stronger approach with the university on this issue.
5. To send a letter to the BBC condemning their refusal to air the DEC appeal for
Gaza, and to place the appeal advert in Cub, QM Messenger and on the home
page of the QMSU website, until the appeal is closed.
6. To send a message of support to occupations around the country that have
shown solidarity with the people of Gaza, condemned the Israeli attacks and
opposed the siege of Gaza.
7. To send a public message of solidarity to the Islamic University in Gaza, whose
campus has been virtually destroyed, and publish it in Cub and QM Messenger.
8. To pressure the university to provide 5 fully paid scholarships for Palestinian
students in recognition of the complete destruction of many educational
facilities in Gaza as a result of the Israeli bombing campaigns.
9. To declare unequivocal support for the occupation and Queen Mary Stop the
War Coalition so far as it keeps the current demands, remains non-violent and
maintains its intention not to disrupt the education of peers. To support and aid
Queen Mary Stop the War Coalition in its negotiations with the university. To
support all students and staff so far as they face any repercussions.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Letter of Solidarity

Greetings to Queen Mary Students Occupying in solidarity with the struggle of Gaza!

We are writing to you as a Collective of Artists, Activists and Organizers called the 'Friends of CAIS Maloka and the International School for Bottom Up Organizing' (ISBO) - sending you a message of solidarity and congratulations on the success of your Occupation!
We are moved and encouraged by your radical organizing and occupations and would love to come and meet with you!
Our Collective is comprised of young Radicals from a Latin American Experimental Arts & Activist group - 'New Generation' . Two of our comrades have returned to Colombia to set up a Social Action and Research Centre (CAIS Maloka) in the rural areas close to Cali. CAIS Maloka is also part of the 'International School for Bottom Up Organizing' (ISBO) as we are, which trains Young Activists in Radical Organizing - working with the people 'on the bottom' to take charge of their own lives and struggles.
We're attaching our info leaflet to share with you who we are, what we are doing, and why. We are busy organizing solidarity and support for our comrades in Colombia and the Organizing School; to support the work in the ground in Colombia, to send resources to the School for its next Organizing School in May in Jamaica enabling folks to Activists to fly up from Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico and Venezuela, and to raise funds for a delegation of us to go on a solidarity visit to Colombia in November.

Sending Solidarity and good energy!
the Friends of CAIS Maloka and ISBO Collective

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

UEL Goes into Occupation!

After a meeting today, with speakers including Lindsey German from Stop the War Coalition and other academics, students from the University of East London went into occupation in solidarity with Gaza. Queen Mary Occupation has pledged its support. All help is welcomed by UEL Occupation. Check out their blog for more info and a listof their demands...

http://ueloccupation.blogspot.com/

Viva Palestina!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

UK University Occupations Reported in the Guardian

Occupations accross the country have been covered in Saturday's edition of the Guardian. Read the article by Alexandra Topping using the link below.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/14/gaza-student-protests

Friday, 13 February 2009

Victory For Goldsmiths Uni Occupation!

Students from Goldsmiths University have left their Occupation as victors. They left today at 10 o'clock after being promised 2 scholarships for Palestinian students. Read more about it and check out the photos on their blog...

www.goldsmithsoccupation.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Goldsmiths University Occupied!


Students at Goldsmiths University have now gone in to Occupation. They are demanding two MA scholarships for students from Al-Quds Open University, Nablus. Send messages of support to goldsmithsoccupation@gmail.com and check out their blog: goldsmithsoccupation.blogspot.com

Suspended for supporting Gaza!

Sheffield Hallam Students' Union is victimising Matt Vicary, Equal Opportunities officer for supporting the protests and occupations against the siege of Gaza. Matt is a dedicated and committed activist trying to force his Union to take up political campaigns and has been suspended by dictat of the President without being informed of the complaints or charges against him. Stand in solidarity with Matt and the students by protesting:

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE VICTIMISATION OF STUDENTS TAKING PART IN SOLIDARITY ACTION OVER GAZA CRISIS: Assemble 2:30pm Thursday 12th Feb at the HUBS, Sheffield Hallam Students Union, Paternoster Row.

You can also email Russ Swannack, the union president, to express your sentiments: r.swannack@shu.ac.uk, uuspresident@shu.ac.uk

Also join the 'FREE GAZA; Stop victimisations at Sheffield Hallam!' Facebook group and send messages of solidarity: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=54289401540&ref=mf

DEC Gaza Fundraiser Tomorrow in Library Square

We're fundraising this week for the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Appeal. We need all the help we can get, so come at any time and give us a hand with the fundraising. And also it would be great if you can bring any cakes, food ect to sell at our stall. Remember- all the money raised by Friday 12th will be doubled!

See you there...

Edinburgh Occupied!

Congratulations and solidarity.

Students at the University of Edinburgh have this afternoon occupied a lecture theater in solidarity with the oppressed of Gaza.

Please send message of support.

http://edinburghunioccupation.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Israel Refuses Textbook Paper In To Palestine- read the article

Paper for textbooks that would teach human rights to Palestinians of all ages has been refused entry in to Gaza by the Israeli state. UN official, John Ging, head of Gaza operations has expressed his outrage. Go to the link to read the article in full.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3669379,00.html

BBC DEC Cartoon (Thanks to Oxford)

Glagow University Occupied!




Congratulations and solidarity.

Please check out their blog and send messages of support:

http://glasgowunioccupation.blogspot.com/

Before and After Photos of the Islamic University of Gaza


The President of the University in Gaza has sent us these images illustrating the damage of the Israeli attacks on the building. The University, like all others is an educational establishment and we fully condemn all attacks on any such institution. See this link for more images on the Islamic University Of Gaza website:

http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/images/After.jpghttp://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/images/mkhtabarat.jpg

President Of Gaza University Supports Campaign

A letter from Dr Kamalain Sha'ath in regards to our campaign:

Dear fellow students of Queen Mary University,

We would like to express our sincere thanks and deep appreciation for all your conscious efforts, endeavours and demands to support the right to education, justice and freedom in Palestine.

We wholeheartedly support your peaceful protests against the blanket bombing of Gaza in general and the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in particular which suffered extensive destruction and damage to all its buildings, academic facilities. Additionally more than 20,000 students, whose families have been agonizing from the suffocating siege of Gaza, have lost some members of their families and many others have lost their houses.

With great respect and admiration, we have been following all activities taking place in 19 British universities. Your brave campaign has strengthened both our hope and will that we are not alone in this just battle against unprecedented blatant injustices and flagrant violation of human in Palestine.

We are absolutely proud of you all and proud of your solidarity and support campaign for the right to education in Palestine which gives us bright light in the heart of the military occupation darkness.

We wish you full success in your supportive campaign and in achieving all your sensible demands which show a high level of awareness and commitment to defend basic human rights in Gaza at a time of obvious media bias and hypocrisy of many governments.

We hope to cooperate with you soon to establish mutual academic cooperation between our academic institutions. In this regard, we confirm our high interest and strong willingness to provide you with any information, facts, plans, courses, etc related to your practical demands.

In solidarity with Queen Mary students in Occupation

Dr Kamalain Sha'ath
President, The Islamic University of Gaza
Tel: 970 8 282 3310
Fax: 970 8 286 3552
Website: http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/en/
http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/album/attack-dec-2008/Flash01/index.html

http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/images/After.jpghttp://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/images/mkhtabarat.jpg

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Independent on Sunday Reports on Occupations

The national press is taking notice of the wave of student revolts across the country as students demonstrate in solidarity with the oppressed in Gaza.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/students-are-revolting-the-spirit-of-68-is-reawakening-1604043.html

Victory for University of Rochester, USA !

The University of Rochester, in the US has claimed victory after nine hours of occupation. The New York University was occupied after being inspired by the wave of occupations in the UK. Congratulations and solidarity! Check out their blog for more info!

http://www.thesitch.com/occupation/

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Success For Strathclyde!

At 2pm today, students from Strathclyde University ended their Occupation chanting, "Students united will never be defeated." Check out their blog to see their success!

http://pulsemedia.org/

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Manchester University - IN OCCUPATION




The students of this country have spoken. Manchester University has just gone into Occupation, show your support for them and the oppressed of Palestine.

If your university hasn't occupied yet, do not wait around because you are the change you've been waiting for.

Occupation Ends. The Fight Goes On

After being in Occupation for eight days, we have been victorious in achieving most of our demands. You can view the demands the Principle agreed to in full below. We would like to thank everyone who has come to support us, sent us messages and helped this cause and our success overall. Also a big thank you to all the academics and speakers who contributed greatly to our open debates, which in turn spread the word of the suffering of the people of Gaza.

Please don't forget why we went in to Occupation- it was for the people of Gaza. Though the Occupation has ceased, the cause has not. We will still fight for freedom for Palestine. Join us in this- we will keep you updated through this blog and our facebook group, and e-mail.

VIVA VIVA PALESTINA!!!

Final Proposals From Principal Accepted

This is a clarification of the statement issued to you on Friday 30th January 2009. Please note that this provides further information on College investments in addition to that given in that statement and addresses your concerns in a manner similar to that at other institutions (such as Kings College) where occupations have ended.

We now ask that the occupation in room 113 should end: College authorities have been very willing to enter into a dialogue over the issues raised, but we are concerned that the occupation is now disrupting other staff and students to an unacceptable degree.

1. The Acting Principal on behalf of Queen Mary fully endorses the statement on Gaza issued by Universities UK and therfore supports calls for an end to the conflict in and beyond Gaza. We are particularly aware that many of the civilian casualties have occurred in educational establishments. The UK’s universities are resolutely committed to the right to education, enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Higher education, in particular, is a global activity and we value our academic links with universities all over the world. The international nature of higher education means it is a force for understanding, tolerance and respect between peoples.

2. We have now received from our investment advisors information about current investments. The College does not currently hold any direct investment in GKN and will be disposing of its small Cobham holding as soon as it can practically and sensibly do so. The College will not acquire any further direct investment in these companies and will review its investment policy. There is an invitation to representatives of your group to present its case with respect to ethical investments to the Chairman of the Investment Committee (who is the College Treasurer) for due consideration in the course of this review. We are happy to give an absolute undertaking that the group’s spokespersons will be able put their case freely to the Treasurer and that its views will be taken into consideration in any changes of ethical investment policy.

3. Queen Mary is always happy to donate any surplus equipment or books to universities in need of aid and we feel that would most effectively be done through the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Appeala. In addition, we are happy to facilitate the collection of funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Appeal.

4. We welcome applications from Palestinian students for support under our scholarship schemes, as we do to students from many other countries with severe humanitarian crises. The College has an excellent record in this respect, for example during the Bosnian crisis in the 1990s. We are happy to discuss with the QM Students Union any future changes to our scholarships policy. We will play an active role in the national initiative, encouraged by UUK, to increase scholarships for Palestinians to study in this country.

5. We can confirm that we will not take action against the protestors provided that all action has been within the law and no damage has been done to the room.

6. We are keen to continue the dialogue on items 2, 3 and 4 after the occupation has ended.


Signed,
Professor Phillip Ogden
Acting Principal
4th February 2009
VICTORY

Occupation is drawing to a finale, more details to follow, mood is definitely positive, high and the guitars are coming out!!! Ole Ole Ole!!!

CNN Reports on UK Occupations

Aside from a negative introduction to the piece which seems to forget that most students on campus support the occupations, CNN International have carried a story on the UK student occupations in solidarity with Gaza, including that by Queen Mary. The British press, as ever has, apart from one artice in the Guardian, failed to grasp the significance of this wave of student activism unseen in this country for over 30 years.

The CNN Article:

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/30/uk.students.gaza/?iref=mpstoryview

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Students Still in Occupation on Seventh Day

An article by Tahmeena Bax on the occupation. http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/02/421146.html

Keep emailing the Principal

Keep sending your emails to the principal in support of the demands we have proposed so that we can get the best possible result! p.e.ogden@qmul.ac.uk

GEORGE GALLOWAY MP CONFIRMED TO SPEAK TOMMOROW



George Galloway is confirmed to speak in FB1.13 tomorrow at 2pm. Please however all come to the meeting at 1pm to discuss our response to the Principal's statement.

See you there!

PS - George Galloway at his best: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=249JaIaubVw

Message of Support from Jacqueline Rose

Dear Occupation,

I share your dismay at the recent events in Gaza and see your action as a political statement by each of you as citizens wishing to register that dismay.
I also share your wish that the University have an ethical investment policy and that no University funds be directly or inadvertently used to finance the actions of the Israeli army in Gaza. I believe this concern is also shared by our Acting Principal and that the clarifications you seek in this regard will be forthcoming.
In relation to your other demands, notably for condemnation of Israel’s actions, I would strongly advise you to add to your statement a condemnation of the Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas by Hamas. There is of course no symmetry between the two, and you can state this clearly. Israel is the power, planned and took the offensive, using indiscriminate and disproportionate violence against a mostly unarmed and defenceless people who had been under siege for more than a year. I for one do not accept that the actions were precipitated solely by the need of self-defence nor that self-defence can justify them. Nonetheless, failure to mention the rockets leaves you vulnerable to the charge that you are indifferent to the deaths of Israeli civilians – which I am sure is untrue - even if these are so dramatically less in number than the Palestinian casualties.
I would also like to support you as students who are using this Occupation as part of your education. As the brilliant late Edward Said said, there is an urgent need for understanding on the part of both parties to this conflict. His paper `Bases for Co-existence’ is a strong statement to this effect. You could perhaps discuss it as part of the programme of events and discussions which are so dynamically and imaginatively part of what you are doing.
Above all, I would advise you never to forget that you are students, as indeed we all are – I certainly include myself here - and to use this occasion to educate yourselves as fully as possible about the complex history of this seemingly intractable and dreadful conflict which is having such a profound and deleterious effect on your lives and which is of such profound import for all of your futures.

With my very best wishes,

Jacqueline Rose
Professor of English
QMUL
Teacher of `Palestine-Israel, Israel-Palestine: Politics and the Literary Imagination.’
Co-founder Independent Jewish Voices

Monday, 2 February 2009

New proposals from the Principal

The Principal has sent us a revised set of proposals which appear below. We are calling a large meeting to discuss the proposals and we want the decision to be as democratic as possible. Because the weather means it is difficult for people to get in the meeting is on Wednesday at 13.00 in FB113.

New Proposals:

1. Queen Mary fully endorses the statement on Gaza issued by Universities UK:
“Universities UK supports calls for an end to the conflict in and beyond Gaza. We are particularly aware that many of the civilian casualties have occurred in educational establishments. The UK’s universities are resolutely committed to the right to education, enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Higher education, in particular, is a global activity and we value our academic links with universities all over the world. The international nature of higher education means it is a force for understanding, tolerance and respect between peoples.”

2. We have now received from our investment advisors information about current investments. The College does not currently hold any direct investment in GKN and will be disposing of its small Cobham holding as soon as it can practically and sensibly do so. The College will not acquire any further direct investment in these companies and will review its investment policy. There is an invitation to representatives of your group to present its case with respect to ethical investments to the Chairman of the Investment Committee (who is the College Treasurer) for due consideration in the course of this review. We are happy to give an absolute undertaking that the group’s spokespersons will be able put their case freely to the Treasurer and that its views will be taken into consideration in any changes of ethical investment policy.

3. Queen Mary is always happy to donate any surplus equipment or books to universities in need of aid and we feel that as in other humanitarian crises that would most effectively be done through a scheme operated by a charity recognised by the Department for International Development. In addition, we are happy to facilitate the collection of funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Appeal.

4. We welcome applications from Palestinian students for support under our scholarship schemes, as we do to students from many other countries with severe humanitarian crises. The College has an excellent record in this respect, for example during the Bosnian crisis in the 1990s. We are happy to discuss with the QM Students Union any future changes to our scholarships policy. We will play an active role in the national initiative, encouraged by UUK, to increase scholarships for Palestinians to study in this country.

5. We can confirm that we will not take action against the protestors provided that all action has been within the law and no damage has been done to the room.

6. We are keen to continue the dialogue on items 2, 3 and 4 after the occupation has ended.

More expressions of solidarity from Queen Mary academic staff

We have received the following statement by email. The list is growing:

Professor Donald Sassoon

'I share your sense of outrage for the unjustifiable Israeli onslaught on the people of Gaza. I hope that a settlement similar to that reached at Kings (and, I think, at the LSE) can be reached also at QM. I will try to visit FB113 on Wednesday if the occupation is still on.'


(Full list available here: http://queenmaryoccupation.blogspot.com/2009/01/debate-today-30.html)

OCCUPATION - FIRST SUCCESS!

On the 29th of January the College added the 'Palestinian Territories' to the Scholarship list. This was not present before the Occupation took place and we are glad that the University has partially fulfilled this demand.

However, since the University in Gaza has been destroyed we believe that Queen Mary should provide all expenses paid scholarships for students specifically from the Gazan University for the coming Academic year 2009 - 2010. For all future years the number of overall scholarships should be increased by 10 so that students from other parts of the world are not placed at a disadvantage, with the Palestinian Territories remaining on eligible scholarship lists.

http://www.qmul.ac.uk/international/scholarships/index.html#se

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Gaza University - President Speaks of Destruction


Imagine if this was Queen Mary. We call upon our University to condemn Israel's bombardment of Gazan institutions of education.

In a press release, Dr Kamalain Sha'ath, the President of the Islamic University of Gaza announced to the world the extent of Israel's destruction of his University from the air on December 28. He pleaded that his message be 'spread wide and far', that:

'We therefore call upon all academics, faculty associations, student unions, professionals and colleagues at large to show their support and solidarity to the right of the Palestinians to education. Several positive worldwide steps have already been taken including boycotting Israeli academic cultural institutions and activities.

'Your solidarity and support for the right to education in Palestine is vital and highly appreciated.'

The shocking image he shows the world of destroyed University buildings jarring against another sunny photo showing how they would have appeared intact only a short month ago can only demonstrate yet further how pertinent, urgent, and necessary is campaigning in solidarity with the oppressed of Gaza. We stand with the President in his call.

-Cambridge Gaza Solidarity.

Here is a link to the entire press release:

http://www.nabble.com/Press-Release-td21761047.html

The President provided a return point of contact at:

extr@iugaza.edu.ps


Children in Gaza Under Threat Once Again


Israel threatens 'disproportionate' response to Palestinian rocket fire


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/01/gaza-israelandthepalestinians


Half of Gaza’s 1.5m population is under 15 years of age


Planning Meeting at Ten

Hello all,
Planning meeting at 10am tommorow. Followed by a talk at 1pm with Jeremy Corbyn, debate at 2pm and a demonstration out front the Francis Bancroft building at 3pm.
See you all there!

NOTTINGHAM OCCUPTION FORCEFULLY REMOVED

It has just come to our attention that the Nottingham University authorities have violently and brutally removed the peaceful student protesters from the lecture theater they have been occupying in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The protesters resisted peacefully by sitting down in the back of the lecture room but the security guards took no heed and proceeded to drag them out of the buiding.

Not only does this represent a draconian and vicious overreaction from the University but also raises many legal issues surrounding the forced eviction.

More details to follow.

Fridays Demonstration
















This friday a group of about 100 people demonstrated through library square to the Principals office... and then around campus. Due to its success, after the series of talks and debates starting at 1pm tommorow, we are planning a follow up demonstration, of which we hope to be at least twice the size. All those that are available to attend please meet outside the front of the Francis Bancroft building from 3pm!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Photographs Needed

If anyone has any photos of the occupation, we would really appreciate it if you could send them to qmoccupation@gmail.com. Thankyou in advance.

QMUL Student Calls Occupation "Terrorists"

In a somewhat bizarre turn of events an apparently deluded student has branded those who support and are part of the occupation as "terrorists".

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=60269198600#/topic.php?uid=60269198600&topic=5784

Feel free to share your thoughts with this chap.

TODAY 3PM - IMPORTANT PLANNING MEETING

Can all please attend we need as many people as possible to discuss our next steps.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Important Planning Meeting

There will be an important planning meeting taking place tomorrow, Saturday 31st of January, at 3.00pm in room 1.13.
Please make every effort to attend.

QM Academic Support

Members of staff from Queen Mary have expressed their support for the Occupation:

(this list will be constantly updated as messages come to us)

Professor Donald Sassoon (Comparative European History)

I share your sense of outrage for the unjustifiable Israeli onslaught on the people of Gaza. I hope that a settlement similar to that reached at Kings (and, I think, at the LSE) can be reached also at QM. I will try to visit FB113 on Wednesday if the occupation is still on.



Dr. Miran Epstein (Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry)

Please be aware that not all Israelis support the recent crimes of their government. I, for example, give my full support to you.


Jacqueline Rose

http://queenmaryoccupation.blogspot.com/2009/02/support-from-message-of-support-from.html




Dr. Stefan Schwarzkopf (School of Business and Management)

It's great to see that political passion and the care for the suffering of other people is alive and well among QMUL students. I whole-heartedly support your actions.


Dr Richard Saull (Lecturer in International Politics)

I share your concerns, in particular with the highly disproportionate Israeli military assault on Gaza, (especially its consequences in the huge numbers of civilian deaths and injuries caused by Israeli forces) in response to rocket attacks on southern Israel (which themselves are no justification for Israeli actions) and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip and its humanitarian consequences.

I have some sympathy with your occupation and your expression of solidarity, as well as some of your demands.


Dr Madeleine Davis (Lecturer - Political Ideas and Hispanic and Latin America)

Good to see the occupations making the news - you've probably seen this already
best of luck!
Madeleine


Dr. Roberto Veneziani (Lecturer in Economics)

Dear occupants

What happened in Gaza is terrible. The suffering of a man in some part of the globe is the suffering of all men everywhere in the globe.

I am abroad at the moment but next week I will definitely come to FB 1.13 to one of your meetings.


Costa Dimitriou (LLU)

Hello activists,

I've already visited and I am happy to see your concern for this issue.
Many of my colleagues are also participating in various activities like the speeches.

I've seen your blog and you are apparently asking the Uni to send amongst other things, some computer parts. If this helps, the loading dock of Francis Bancroft building has a pile of older computer stuff which is just lying around.

best of luck from your neighbours.

Costa Dimitriou
Language and Learning Unit

Early Day Motion in Parliament to Support Occuaptions

The following parliamentary motion has been tabled:

EDM 626 STUDENT OCCUPATIONS 28.01.2009 McDonnell, John 2 signatures

Corbyn, Jeremy

That this House praises the wave of student occupations across the country against Israel's unlawful invasion and bombing of Gaza; regrets that an estimated thousand Palestinians have been killed as a direct result of the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza with many more people injured and suffering ongoing hardship; and welcomes the engagement of young people in protesting against the unfolding human tragedy in Gaza by taking direct action at numerous institutions including Cambridge University, Essex University, Kings College London, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford University, Queen Mary University London and Sussex University.

Professor Noam Chomsky Supports QM


One of the most influential intellectuals alive has declared his support for the Queen Mary Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza. In personal comments sent to the Occupation Professor Chomsky wrote:

I am very pleased to learn about your courageous and honorable actions, particularly significant because of the crucial British contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these monstrous crimes to an end.


Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bruce Kent - Will Be Speaking Today 5pm!

video

Bruce Ken speaking previously.

PUBLIC MEETING 1PM TODAY FB113

There is a public meeting today in Francis Bancroft room 113. Hundreds expected to attend and many prominent speakers including Lindsay German and Jacqueline Rose.

Invite everyone!!

Meetings!

Good morning from FB113!

We are holding several meetings throughtout the day the first of which will be a planning meeting at 10am. We'd love everyone to come along to this and help us discuss the direction of our campaign.

There is another meeting at 1pm which will involve visiting speakers and perhaps more of a debate. We will keep you updated about this!

We're looking forward to seeing you soon, even if you can't stay any messages of support will be appreciated!

Nottingham Occupied!!

Congratulations and welcome to Nottingham, recently announced to have started an occupation too! We will let you know more details as they come in, anyone with information please get in contact: qmoccupation@gmail.com
thanks and good luck!!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

New & Improved manifesto

We as students of Queen Mary are occupying lecture room FB 1.13 in the College to protest against the recognised war crimes in Gaza committed by the Israeli Government, and to show our solidarity with the oppressed peoples in the region. We are pursuing this course of action to maintain the momentum of other student protests in Universities across the U.K.
As students of this institution, we unreservedly object on moral grounds to the University’s failure to boycott goods supplied by companies who fund military operations in Gaza.
Furthermore, we have strong reasons to believe the University is financially involved with arms dealers GKN and Cobham. We find this morally unacceptable and ask for complete transparency on the part of the University regarding any investments in the arms trade. It will be our policy to seek to expose this issue and open it up for debate within the College.
We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to either staff or students at our College; however, we have been motivated to act on the basis of our moral convictions.

We demand:

For the acting Principal to condemn, on behalf of the College, all attacks on Gaza, especially the shelling of several UN schools and a University.

That the University publish a comprehensive list of all investments made in public and private bodies. If it is found that any of the shares belong to companies who are involved in arms dealings that perpetuate violence and war, we would demand that all ties be severed and the University subscribe to an ethical investment policy.

Donate used and surplus equipment, such as computers, books and journals to Palestinian Universities in need of aid.

That the Queen Mary management formally condemns the British Broadcasting Corporation for their lack of impartiality epitomised in their refusal to air the Disaster Emergency Committee Gaza humanitarian appeal film.

We also call on the University to set up an international scholarship program of ten places for disadvantaged Palestinian students who wish to study here.

That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. Students involved should be guaranteed free movement in and out of the space.

N.B

After considerable research into the financial and ideological background of the Starbucks Corporation, we have decided to withdraw our demand that products of the Starbucks franchise should cease to be sold on campus. Despite our misgivings about Howard Schultz the C.E.O. of Starbucks, we feel that there is insufficient evidence that the company is involved in financing the Israeli military.
We therefore replace the demand with the aforementioned condemnation of the BBC. We believe that this is a much more pertinent issue for the people of Gaza, as well as the College.

CONGRATULATIONS SHEFFIELD HALLAM

http://shuoccupation.blogspot.com/

'With the success of occupations throughout the UK, Sheffield Hallam students and workers from around the city voted to occupy the tenth floor of the Owen building. This is to make practical demands of the university in solidarity with Palestinians and to condemn the actions of the Israeli state.'

excellent news!

PUBLIC MEETING 1PM TODAY FB113

All are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting today in Francis Bancroft Room 113 at 1pm!!!

Tell everyone you know, see you at one!!
Good morning from room 1.13! Just a quick note to say we are still here and awaiting a visit from the university management.
The room is open to all, please don't feel nervous about coming to visit, there are plenty of people willing to speak to you and discuss any issues you might have with the occupation or the situation in Gaza itself.
You can also email us at qmoccupation@googlemail.com with any messages of support, any queries and so forth.
We are currently in the process of creating a timetable for the next few days which will include talks, debates and workshops. In the meantime there will be a public meeting to discuss our aims and plans at 1pm today in the room, once again all are welcome

QM occupation

Queen Mary student's demands

We as Queen Mary students are occupying lecture room FB113 in the College to show our solidarity with the students across the UK who have taken similar actions as a protest against the recognised war crimes in Gaza.
As students of this institution, we unreservedly object on moral grounds to the University’s failure to boycott goods supplied by companies who fund military operations in Gaza.
Furthermore, we have reason to believe the University is financially involved with arms dealers GKN and Cobham.
We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to either staff or students at our College, however we have been motivated to act on the basis of our moral convictions.


We demand:


For the acting Principal to condemn, on behalf of the College, all attacks on educational institutions in Gaza, including the shelling of several UN schools and a University.
That the University publish a comprehensive list of all investments made in public and private bodies. If it is found that any of the shares belong to companies who are involved in arms dealings that perpetuate violence and war, we would demand that all ties be severed and the University amend its ethical investment policy.


Donate used and surplus equipment, such as computers, books and journals to Palestinian Universities in need of aid.


We also call on the University to end the sale of Starbucks products on the campus due to Starbuck’s continued financial support of the Israeli aggression.


We also call on the University to open up our international scholarship program to disadvantaged Palestinian students who wish to study here.


That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the sit-in. Students involved should be guaranteed free movement in and out of the space.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Messages of solidarity!

We've had some great messages of solidarity from other universities across the country. 
Thanks to:


Here are the links to occupation blogs at other universities too, as well as the link to a blog covering all occupations:

A few other messages from people:

"woop! Smash the system" - Ciaran Osborne, Civil Servant

"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" - Solidarity from Sussex Occupation


Thanks for all of your support, we'll be updating with our demands and progress throughout the night.




Queen Mary university occupied in solidarity with the people of Gaza


We are occupying Room 1.13 of the Frances Bancroft building - please come and show your support, all are welcome and we are in the process of booking speakers and academics to come and talk with us!

Queen Mary Stop the War Coalition