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Reaction to Apartheid Week in Lethbridge?

posted by macdonald Geography: Canada, Prairies

April 8, 2009

Reaction to Apartheid Week in Lethbridge?

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[Photos of the Anti-Apartheid Week displays and posters put out by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (Lethbridge)]

When one thinks of Lethbridge, Alberta-- some 2.5 hours drive southeast of Calgary-- one doesn't think of a hotbed of radicalism. In the time since I arrived last night to participate in a student lecture and display series to be held at the local University, some of the signs as to what one might expect from Lethbridge in general have been on display. There was the sign posted near a restaurant that reads "We still (heart) Alberta beef!" for example, and the student at the university who was literally taking his hockey stick with him to class. The beautiful rolling gully known as the Coulies in this traditional Blackfoot Nation territory divides the town, but something else has been dividing the students at both the primary college and the aforementioned University. Now, it is Palestine-- and the resistance to any mention of their plight.

Bravely in this generally quite white and conservative community, several students who formed Solidarity For Palestinian Human Rights (Lethbridge) have decided to hold a similar campus event to many across North America over the last decade-- an Anti-Apartheid Week. Deliberately being cautious yet provocative at the same time, SPHR(L) has used the term "Anti" in place of "Israeli" and included discussions of Southern African apartheid-- among their many talks and more designed to bring awareness to the plight of Palestinians in refugee camps, the West Bank, Gaza and the world over. These displays, while provocative, hold mostly facts about Palestinian suffering and not Israeli motives. There are fact sheets posted that describe-- for only one example-- the fact of well over half the total Palestinian populations of Gaza and the West Bank living in absolute poverty. For this, certain individuals have both torn down the majority of the posters advertising the events of Anti-Apartheid Week, as well as covering the walls of the College Campus in sheer hate posters.

SPHR (Lethbridge) and their supporters have decided to file a formal complaint with College administrators, who have thus far hidden behind claims of free speech. One need only ask how "free" it would be were the pictures to have the opposite targets for their ethnicity.

Anti-Apartheid Week is continuing, beginning a lecture and speaker series today-- April 8, 2009-- on the University of Lethbridge Campus. So, too is the constant "full spectrum dominance" war being waged by the defenders of the indefensible policies of the Israeli state in dehumanizing their victims, while portraying themselves forever on the defensive.

Have a gander over these images, acquaint yourselves with basic facts on the conflict, and decide who is "hateful" and who is standing up for the most basic human rights.


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