Students and workers face serious repercussions for expressing pro-Palestine views
Ontario post-secondary schools are making it difficult for students and educators to show support for Palestine by implementing mandatory signed open letters and removing programs.

With the ongoing genocide in Palestine, many students and workers alike are taking to social media to express their opinions and beliefs. Many of them are being censored or celebrated based on their opinions, which has led to a bias in people’s judgment and an impact on their work and school lives. 

Since the siege escalated in October 2023, professionals and students have risked their careers and futures for a crisis that they strongly believe requires their advocacy. 

Many reports of loss of jobs and threats to one’s livelihood have increased since October. Based on a CBC News Report, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals have spoken out showing their support for an end to the genocide of the Gaza Strip.

The problem escalated on social media platforms like Facebook, which are limiting and blocking posts of Palestinian support.

Law students from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) who have “current or upcoming employment opportunities” with Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General are now required to sign a form indicating they did not participate in an open letter in solidarity with Palestine. Experts argue this new hiring policy is designed to “punish” those who show support for the people experiencing the ongoing genocide in Palestine.

Since then, a group of law students at TMU signed an open letter in response to the new policy. The open letter was released on October 20, 2023, and has since been signed by more than 70 law school students. 

Students are facing backlash for declaring their “unequivocal support” for Palestinians and all forms of Palestinian resistance. 

The letter writes, “This is neither a war, nor a conflict: Palestinians are the subjects of Israel’s colonization and genocide, and the denial of such is an act of complicity in the ensuing violence.”

These events have created a ripple effect among individuals who support the Palestinian cause, particularly those associated with the Temerty School of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

A program titled Building the Foundations of Anti-Oppressive Healthcare was scheduled for October 12 but cancelled minutes before its launch.

U of T’s School of Medicine decided to cancel the program as long as it involved Rania El Mugammar, a social justice educator who posted tweets criticizing the apartheid state of Israel.

This incident is one of many that demonstrate the repercussions of supporters who express their pro-Palestine views on social media platforms. 

The Medium interviewed Lu (full name redacted for anonymity purposes), a University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) student who attended pro-Palestine protests and has been strongly involved in advocating for a permanent ceasefire. Lu is a first-year student who is interested in pursuing Digital Enterprise Management and Political Science at UTM.

Lu attended protests that were held on campus on October 25 and November 9 last year in 2023. When asked why she attended these protests, Lu responded to “chant and stand strong in solidarity with the innocent civilians being killed in Gaza.” 

Lu’s purpose in these protests stems from her Palestinian background. “I am originally Palestinian and have never been able to step foot into my land, so this genocide stings deep down my roots. My grandparents were kicked out [of] Yafa in 1948, which is ‘Tel Aviv’ now, and they were forced into the Gaza Strip.”

“I cannot fathom the cruelty one can have to ethnically cleanse a population, force them into this tiny piece of land and then enforce a blockade and launch raining airstrikes on them every few years,” Lu continues. “That is why you will find people of all races, backgrounds, and ages in the protests on and off campus. You will find people with humanity and hope for Palestinian liberation.”

Lu worries that voicing these opinions may jeopardize her future, as it has for many others already. “I feel angry. I started contemplating how ‘freedom of speech’ was a lie,” she explains. 

“Honestly, sometimes I wonder how my future may be affected by Palestinian activism. I see students in Germany and the US being shot for solely wearing Keffiyehs, and I realize that the oppressors will find any way to twist your words and manipulate you into the bad guy. So yes, I may struggle with finding a job in a world that stands with colonizers.”

Lu believes that UTM has not done enough to support Palestinian students and the effects this genocide has had. “I want to say I understand why they have to give neutral stances, but I am also tired of giving excuses. The truth is their jobs probably would have vanished if they stood against the apartheid system Palestinians have to encounter every day. They had to stay silent or morbidly neutral to protect their positions,” Lu explains.

Lu hopes that students will continue to acknowledge the importance of demanding a permanent ceasefire for Palestinians without fear of being punished.

Staff Writer (Volume 49); Associate News Editor (Volume 48)Razia Saleh is currently completing a Biology degree at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2020 as a contributor and continued to write for The Medium as an Associate News Editor during Volume 48. She hopes that her experience as a writer with The Medium will help her contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers. She hopes to take her interest in ongoing research within the scientific field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she paints natural landscapes inspired by her travels and enjoy a few live concerts throughout the year. You can connect with her on Linkedin.


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