Wherever you go there seems to always be a protest of some sort. Most of you are aware, Im sure, of the fierce protests conducted outside the Israeli consulate on Bloor and Avenue. Bearing the same purpose as the vigil for the Mumbai victims in the CCIT building last month, the student union, along with various leaders of student-run organizations, wasted no time or hesitation to group and organize a form of response to the crisis. As a means of raising awareness, the union decided to organize and coordinate transportation for students to attend the Gaza rally downtown.
It came as no surprise or disagreement to me that our student union got heavily involved with those proceedings. To some others, like our regular editorial cartoonist Erick Fournier however, UTMSUs initiative was met with a less-than-understanding stance.
Fournier made some interesting points, such as how it seemed a tad bit inappropriate that the union use funds allocated for students on campus for a purpose outside of it. Its still for students, I argued. But Fournier replied that the unions time, funds, and effort could be put to better use by lowering parking fees, for instance. Better use? I thought to myself. Whos to decide that? Everyone has their own opinion.
Like I usually respond when students raise a concern or express a differing view with the Union or Administration, I encouraged Fournier to write in, or in his case, draw an editorial cartoon. He obliged (re: above-right). To anyone who wishes to ask, it is, like many other instances before, not representative of how I or any individual on the editorial team feel about the issue. It is simply a representation of various student opinion.
If you recall my editorial from the previous issue, how I feel about the issue has already been made clear — the crisis in Gaza stemming from the never-ending war with Israel and Palestinians is probably the most important issue of our times. Hence, the student union is rightfully doing its part by raising awareness and providing for the handful of students who care enough to want some form of action.
Following from last weeks editorial, I encouraged my news editor to investigate what students thought about the protests. The
question we decided on was if they thought the Gaza protests would be successful in affecting the conflict. The responses we received were none too surprising, with many citing that it probably wouldnt. One student however, replied with an interesting argument, that the protests, however ineffective are more importantly intended to highlight the struggle and pain of those oppressed, and [thus] need to be done regardless. And maybe that truly answers the question posed, without a simple yes or no. Protesting probably wont end anything, but perhaps thats not what its for to begin with.
And so for their efforts, I say kudos to the student union and all the students involved with the Coalition. This is probably the
highest form of solidarity ever demonstrated.