Happening on Campus

UoN students take to Portland to protest Balfour Declaration

On Thursday, November 2nd, members of the University of Nottingham’s Palestinian Society enacted a silent protest in support of the ‘#Makeitright’ Campaign, a campaign which demands ‘justice and equal rights for Palestinians now’. 

Members of various Palestinian Societies at universities up and down the country also took part of this silent protest that occurred on Thursday.

The student-run campaign happened ahead of the national campaign in London, which is to occur today, 4th November.

The protesters making their way through Portland building

Speakers are set to address crowds outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, and then protestors will march through central London from 1pm before reaching Parliament Square, where there will be more speeches until 4pm.

November 2nd, 2017 marked the 100th year anniversary of the original publication Balfour Declaration, the British government’s public statement announcing support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire with only a minority Jewish population.

To show solidarity with the Make It Right Campaign, members of the University of Nottingham’s Palestinian Society covered their mouths with masking tape and stood silently on tables in Portland Café.

They were wearing white t-shirts sporting phrases such as ‘Balfour Declaration Victim’ and ‘Forced to Flee in 1967’.

Members of the University’s Palestinian Society wearing white t-shirts with phrases such as ‘Balfour Declaration Victim’ and ‘Forced to Flee in 1967’

The flash-mob-style stunt was part of a social media campaign aiming to raise awareness of the situation of Palestinians in and around campus and to push for change in the attitudes toward the Palestinian Occupation in the SU. However, the event wasn’t officially run by the Palestinian Society.

Impact spoke to Tala Hreish, President of the University’s Palestinian Society, to find out more about the campaign.

“For me personally [the campaign is] important because the Balfour Declaration started the process of what I believe was the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

“For Palestinian student[s], it’s the issue that it was our family members first hand who left in 1948 and 1967, so we have the connection to the conflict. For many others who aren’t from Palestinian origins, it’s about the injustices and human rights violations that have been inflicted on the Palestinian people.

“The colonial past of Britain basically isn’t in the past for the Palestinians as they still can’t decide their fate for themselves. It’s been 100 years of dispossession and we want people to understand the history of the conflict and the conflict itself.

The silent protesters covered their mouths with masking tape

“Change … will not come from within Palestinian-Israeli territory alone – there needs to be international support.”

While some members of the society will be attending the protest in London, the society will continue to fight for awareness.

“The society this year is really trying to raise awareness to different aspects of the conflict and hopefully get more students to join the cause,” Hreish told Impact.

“The subject for us boils down as a humanitarian cause and we want people to understand the human rights violations that the Palestinians go through every day.”

Matteo Everett

Featured image courtesy of Zeina Tabbalat.
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