Students Against Israeli Apartheid (University of Toronto, St George campus) Statement of Solidarity with Palestinian-Syrians and Denunciation of a Zionist Apologist

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Students Against Israeli Apartheid (University of Toronto, St George campus) Statement of Solidarity with Palestinian-Syrians
and Denunciation of a Zionist Apologist

 

While Palestinians and Syrians need and continue to liberate themselves from the Israeli colonization of Palestine and the Syrian Golan, the Assad regime continues to launch military attacks and sieges including but not limited to the siege on the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. While the Assad regime continually practices criminal violence against the bodies of Palestinian-Syrians and all the People of Syria, against our mothers, brothers, sisters, infants, fathers, families and communities, and as the People remain steadfast against such tyranny, certain organizers decide to invite Agnes-Mariam. While the Assadist collective punishment is not even limited to mass starvation, torture, sieges, knives, bombs and missiles, displacing millions and millions of Syrian refugees, perpetuating the Nakba for Palestinian-Syrians in particular, certain organizers decide to invite a Zionist apologist to deny the crimes of the regime, hence contributing to the crimes of the regime.

 

Agnes-Mariam is a veteran propaganda tool of the Assad regime. She has been denounced by “Syrian Christians for Peace” for claiming there had never been a single peaceful demonstration in Syria. “Syrian Christians for Peace” has also accused her of failing to disburse any of the money she raised in the name of their beleaguered community. They have asked “that she be excommunicated and prevented from speaking in the name of the Order of Carmelites.”

 

Mother Agnes is documented to have met with Mihrac Ural. Mihrac Ural is an Assadist paramilitary leader of the “National Defence Force” and a war criminal who has carried the massacres at Baniyas and Bayda. The massacres were documented by Human Rights Watch in a report titled “No One’s Left”, published September 13, 2013. The report says most of the killings took place after clashes between government troops and rebels had ended. At this point both regular government troops and National Defence Force militia “entered homes, separated men from women, rounded up the men of each neighbourhood in one spot, and executed them by shooting them at close range”, and, “in some cases, government and pro-government forces executed, or attempted to execute, entire families”.

 

What this shows us is that while Mariam Agnes claims to be a humanitarian, she exposes her affiliation with tyrants, war criminals and the massacres they commit by sitting and meeting with Mihrac Ural. Mariam Agnes’ performance of sympathy with the oppressed has all the credibility of statements of regret made by officials in the Israeli army after the massacres of Deir Yassin and Sabra and Shatila, which is none.

 

Mariam Agnes spoke on March 21st 2013 at an event organized by the France-Israel committee, where she repeated sectarian islamophobic racism and Zionist apologetics appealing to the Zionist-organized event. Mariam Agnes is an islamophobic racist who portrays the situation in Syria as one of faithful Christians being attacked by “Barborous” muslims who are “without faith or law”. Her islamophobia is also explicitly zionist because she claims that Israel “must be the recourse for the protection of faith and of believers” and that “Israel must remain a light for people of faith of the world, an example that for her she accepts to follow without reservation”.

 

Moreover, Mariam Agnes spoke in defence of the “democratic character” of Israel, and praised Israel’s “inclusion” of Arab minorities in “Parliament and in the Supreme Court and in all spheres of society”. Mariam Agnes’ Zionist apologetics normalize Israeli colonialism in the Golan and Palestine. They are an insult to the Syrian refugees displaced from the Golan who still await their right of return and have been targeted and massacred by the regime. Just as they are also an insult to the victims of Zionism. The Occupied Golan is under the hegemony of Israeli apartheid, and as such the apartheid analysis and the BDS movement are accountable to the Golan and its people, just as they are to Palestine and its people. Despite this, some people who call themselves anti-war and “anti imperialist”, and who claim to be allies of the Palestinian people and supporters of the BDS movement and the apartheid analysis are shamefully bringing and promoting her, presenting a defender of oppression to speak on behalf the oppressed.

 

The actions of the organizers who will stoop to endorsing someone who repeats Zionist discourse and affiliates with war criminals are beyond divisive and threaten harm to the Palestine solidarity movement. Palestine is more than land, Palestine is also the People including the exiled, ethnically cleansed Palestinians living and exiled once more from Syria. For the organizers who say they want “Freedom for Palestine” and at the same time bring a Zionist apologist for the Assad regime, the word “Freedom” is misused to mean replacing one oppressor with another. Because crimes committed against Palestinians in Syria are crimes committed against Palestine, because we all should take a stand against oppression and not retreat into inaction, we in the student movement opposing Israeli Apartheid, along with the brave and steadfast people of Syria and Palestine, oppose all oppressors. We are both anti-colonial and against state tyranny, and we recognize that Assad’s forces are the dominant, but not the only, perpetuators of killing inside Syria. Among our other solidarity duties, we must and will organize to break the sieges and stop Assad from using mass starvation, checkpoints, torture, detention, killing and all forms of collective punishment as methods of pacifying the Syrian and Palestinian people’s undying desire for dignity and social justice.

 

We denounce the organizing of the Mariam Agnes events. We demand that the organizers repudiate their support for a Zionist apologist and for someone who affiliates with the war criminal Mihrac Ural, and that they affirm the analysis of Israeli Apartheid in the Golan and Palestine. We demand they affirm the right of return for refugees of the Golan, and that they oppose Israeli colonialism in the Golan including but not limited to the construction of Israeli settlements and theft of Syrian natural resources including oil, gas and water. We demand the organizers acknowledge and oppose the war crimes committed by the Assad regime against Palestinian-Syrians.

 

*all quotations are translated from Josiane Sberro’s summery of Mariam Agnes’ talk “Situation des Chrétiens en Syrie, quel message pour Israël et pour la France ?” which took place on march 21st 2013. Sberro’s article is entitled “France-Israël reçoit Mère Agnès-Mariam de la Croix” and was published March 25th 2013 on http://www.france-israel.org

 

Students Against Israeli Apartheid – University of Toronto, St George Campus

 

Endorsers thus far:

 

Students for Justice in Palestine – Ryerson University

 

Students Against Israeli Apartheid – York University

 

Yarmouk Local Coordinating Committee – the Syrian Revolution- Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp, Syria

 

Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) – York University

 

Syria Solidarity Collective – Toronto

 

Appendix:

 

Blog Post in English explaining Mariam-Agnes’ Zionist apologetics:http://northernsong.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/mother-agnes-a-zionist-apologist-for-the-assad-regime/

 

Article in French by Josiane Sberro describing Mariam Agnes’ talk for the France-Israel organization: https://www.france-israel.org/articles.ahd?idart=5012

 

Haaretz article in English by Gideon Levy in which Levy says that Mariam Anges told him “she loved Israel and that the Jews should serve as a light unto the nations.” http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.544616

 

Syrian Christians for Peace statement on Mother Agnes: http://www.inewsarabia.com/485/Syrian-Christians-for-Peace-‘Mother’-Agnus-is-an-Assad-agent-in-the-clothes-of-a-nun.htm

 

History and objectives of the France-Israel organization (in French): https://www.france-israel.org/page.ahd?idrub=5

 

Human Rights Watch Report “No One’s Left” http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/09/13/no-one-s-left-0

 

Saturday 12/14: Protest to Demand Freedom for Middle East Political Prisoners!

Protest to Demand Freedom for Middle East Political Prisoners!
Saturday, December 14, 12 noon
Assemble at the Syrian Consulate,
820 Second Ave. (between 43 and 44th Streets).
At 1pm we will march to the nearby Bahraini, Egyptian, Israeli and Iranian missions, stopping at each to protest.

Throughout the Middle East and North Africa the continuing revolution for freedom, social justice and dignity has been met by regime detention, beatings, torture, sexual harassment and military attacks.

• Before the revolution there, Syria’s Assad regime was used by the U.S. in its program of “extraordinary rendition,” sending captives there to be tortured. Now tens of thousands now sit in regime jails for having protested against Assad. The dictatorship released from its prisons many Al Qaeda-aligned jihadists in order to divide the mass movement and defame it as a terrorist plot. Now groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are detaining and torturing revolutionary activists as well.
• In Egypt, the military has followed its massacres of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in July and August by broadening the targets of its repression to also include democracy activists, leftists and the independent union movement. Recent protests against military trials of civilians and a new law banning protests were met with regime violence, and each day more key activists who have played leading roles in the revolution are being detained.
• In Bahrain, largely under the radar of not only mainstream but even progressive media, demonstrations against the regime occur every day – as does the monarchy’s repression and imprisonment.
• Israel continues its decades-old policy of jailing those resisting Zionism, no matter how young, and using tear gas and live ammunition to try to crush dissent.
• The election of a “reform” President in Iran has not meant freedom for its political prisoners, some of whom are on hunger strike, nor did it prevent the execution in November of Kurdish prisoners.

Meanwhile, the US continues to give billions in military aid to repressive regimes in the region, including providing U.S.-manufactured tear gas used to disperse, wound and kill protesters. And of course the US has its own political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, the victims of the Islamophobic “war on terror,” and the millions of Black youth suffering incarceration to quell dissent over social and economic injustice.

In what can only be called poetic injustice, other forms of mass detention and imprisonment are rife in the region: Syrian refugees in Egypt are detained en masse in abysmal conditions; entire populations of towns in Syria are imprisoned by regime siege and bombing, as are the Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee camp; and Gaza continues to exist as the world’s largest prison – a prison now denied the most basic essentials of life. Meanwhile tens of thousands of Bedouin are being sent into internal exile under the Prawer Plan.

Yet despite all this, millions in these countries continue to rally, strike, occupy their campus or workplace, knowing they could be detained or attacked.

Please join us in demanding freedom for political prisoners in all these countries. Show their people that their sons and daughters have not been forgotten. And build the movement of solidarity with the revolution of Syrians, Egyptians, Bahrainis, Palestinians, Iranians and others for Freedom, Justice and Dignity!

Saturday, December 14, 12 noon
Assemble at the Syrian Consulate,
820 Second Ave. (between 43 and 44th Streets).

At 1pm we will march to the nearby Bahraini, Egyptian, Israeli and Iranian missions, stopping at each to protest.

Called by the MENA Solidarity Network – US
For more information or to endorse:

https://www.facebook.com/MENASolidarityUS https://menasolnetus.wordpress.com/

Stop the Repression in Egypt!

Stop the Repression in Egypt!

Free all political prisoners and detainees, end the beatings, sexual assault and detention of peaceful protesters.

No to military trials of civilians, no to repressive constitutional measures

Statement initiated by the MENA Solidarity Network-US

(To sign on to this statement please post at https://www.facebook.com/MENASolidarityUS or leave a reply at https://menasolnetus.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/stop-the-repression-in-egypt/ )

On November 24th the Egyptian government passed a law regulating protests which would end the right of assembly. To prove that they were serious about ending protest, two days later, on November 26th, the regime violently attacked a protest in Cairo called to demand an end to military trials of civilians, a longstanding demand of the revolution. In recent weeks we have also seen passage of clauses for the proposed new Constitution which several limit the right to protest and organize, as well as ensuring further subordination of the rights of workers, students, women and all oppressed groups to the regime and its foreign backers in government and business.

The attacks by the regime against the anti-military trial protest in Cairo resulted in dozens of arrests. 21 arrested women were driven out to the desert and dumped after having been beaten and sexually harassed by the police. 24 men arrested with them remain in jail, and a kangaroo court announced they would be held for 15 days. Arrest warrants were issued for leading movement figures such as April 6th Youth Movement co-founder Ahmed Maher, as well as leading blogger and organizer Alaa Abd El Fattah. Even though the latter had announced publicly two days before that he would turn himself in on Saturday as part of taking credit for helping to organize Tuesday’s protests, on November 28th police burst into his house, beat his wife, and stole phones and computers from his home. (For more information, see Kareen Fahim, “Egyptian Riot Police Attack Peaceful Protests in Cairo,” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/world/middleeast/egyptian-riot-police-attack-peaceful-protests-in-cairo.html)

These attacks follow the military’s ongoing repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, including violent attacks on protests by its supporters and the imprisonment of peaceful protesters. For example, a court handed down prison sentences of 11 years each for 14 young women simply for participating in a peaceful protest against repression. Seven more, girls too young for prison, were sent to a juvenile detention center until they reach legal age. (For more information, see Maggie Michael And Sarah El Deeb, “Egypt: Heavy prison sentence for Islamist women,” Nov. 27, 2013, http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-heavy-prison-sentence-islamist-women-220632317.html.)

Numerous reports of torture of the above detainees have already come out, and as Alaa’s mother pointed out, if they would brutalize the family so viciously in their home, what will they do to detainees in prison?

Other prominent figures arrested include Mona Seif (sister of Alaa Abd El Fattah), founder of the campaign against military trials of civilians, and Ahmad Harara, a dentist who lost an eye to regime guns in an anti-Mubarak protest and then had the other shot out in a protest against military rule the following year.

In response to these attacks protests have broken out in several Egyptian cities already, including Suez, Alexandria, Fayoum, and of course Cairo. On November 28th the regime fired into a crowd at the University of Cairo, killing one student and putting out another’s eye.

It is important to understand the context of these attacks. The Egyptian people have never given up hope that the Revolution’s goals of freedom, social justice and dignity can be achieved. Their determination to do so is abundantly evident in such recent actions as the two week old strike of Samadoun textile workers, whose sit-in on rail tracks was violently dispersed by police on November 16th. It is also seen by the sit-in which began November 26th at the Hilwan Iron and Steel Co. plant. Meanwhile a wave of student strikes and occupations has spread in recent days to several campuses in Cairo and Alexandria, and likely beyond. This determination to continue the revolution is what the regime fears most of all and is the main motivation behind their new repressive legislation and their vicious attacks.

Supporters of the Egyptian Revolution in the US note with outrage the fact that US tax money pays for, and manufactures, the weapons used to wound, blind and murder peaceful protesters.

In response to all the above, we demand:

Free all prisoners and detainees; end beatings, torture, sexual assault and detention of peaceful protesters; rescind the anti-protest law and repressive constitutional clauses.

No to military trials of civilians, no to repressive constitutional measures.

What you can do:

* Call the Egyptian consulate/mission/embassy in your city; hold a picket in front of it; text/email/message/tweet a statement of protest to the Egyptian authorities. Their contact information can be found here: http://eg.embassyinformation.com/

* Send copies of your protest messages to the Facebook or WordPress addresses above.