Toronto university campuses have historically played a central role in the fight for social justice, human rights and anti-racism. Many alumni proudly remember their efforts in promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign which helped bring and end to Apartheid in South Africa in 1994.
With a similar spirit, from March 1st to March 6th 2010 Toronto campuses will host the 6th International Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a yearly event which aims to garner support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement calling on Israel to comply with international law and to respect Palestinian human rights. The BDS movement was launched by over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations in July 2005, one year after the International Court of Justice ruled the apartheid wall around the West Bank illegal. Alongside the dismantling of this wall, the movement also calls for an end of occupation of all Arab lands, equal civil and political rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right to return for Palestinian refugees.
IAW began at the University of Toronto in March 2004, and is currently taking place in over forty cities on five continents, and in fourteen Canadian cities. In Toronto, events will take place at the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson Unversity. Speakers include South African anti-apartheid activist Na’eem Jeena and Palestinian academic and Journalist Rabab Abdulhadi, as well as representatives of First Nations communities from throughout North America. The week will also focus on queer solidarity in the anti-Apartheid movement, and on the environmental effects of apartheid. The week will end with a cultural event on Saturday the 6th, featuring Palestinian hip-hop artist Abeer Alzinaty and Montreal-based Iraqi MC Narcycist.
Anyone who supports human rights, anti-racism and anti-apartheid should come out to the events! For a full programme visit www.apartheidweek.org
Ilaria Giglioli, University of Toronto