LONDON,ON: CPTers join public witness for the silenced children of Gaza

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CPTnet
27 January 2011
LONDON, ON: CPTers join public witness for the silenced
children of Gaza

Over 150 individuals participated in a
silent protest during the presentation of an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldier
at the University of Western Ontario campus in London, Ontario on 19 January 2011.
Three CPTers were part of a nonviolent direct action, standing in solidarity
with the Palestinian people, silenced by the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and
the assault on Gaza two years ago.
Sergeant Benjamin Anthony is part of an
organisation called ‘Our Soldiers Speak’ which provides speakers who have
served in the Israeli military to campus groups, synagogues, churches and other
groups. His visit was advertised as an account of the ‘trials, struggles, and the incredible bravery of his Israeli Brothers
in Arms as they marched once more to fight for peace in their land’.

The lecture hall was packed with standing
room only by 5:00 p.m., when the event was scheduled to begin.  After some delay, Sergeant Anthony strode
to the podium and introduced himself as a heavy machine-gunner who had
participated in many raids, patrols and ambushes with the IDF, and who knew the
cost of war.  He emphasised his
personal experience and claimed that most of the audience had no similar
experiences.

Just moments into his talk, the majority of
the crowd, including the three CPTers, stood up and displayed the names of
Palestinian children who had been killed in Gaza. After standing in silence for
several minutes they exited the room.  About a dozen individuals remained seated, including some who
had decided not to walk out, but to listen and engage Sergeant Anthony in a
question and answer period.

CPTer Peter Haresnape, in his account of
the witness wrote, “For the majority who walked out, the only statement that
the situation warranted was the names of the dead, who could not be part of any
conversation about the morality of the occupation. There is nothing to discuss
until all parties can recognise the affront to humanity created by the
occupation.”

 The action was followed by a brief rally in front of the
University Campus Center.  Feras
Obeid, one of the attendants, read from his poem:

Like the children of Gaza, today we are
silent
And like them we also remain defiant!

For information on supporting a Canadian
boat taking humanitarian supplies to Gaza see www.CanadaBoatGaza.org

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