DAY ONE – TARIQ ALI
Within the first 24 hours of occupation, SOAS Occupy has been flooded with messages of solidarity and support from students and activists from all over the world, and many other universities in the UK have decided to take a lead and plan occupations of their own.
Tariq Ali – novelist, journalist, filmmaker, public intellectual, activist – spoke at the School of Oriental and African Studies at 5 pm on Tuesday November 20th, addressing the packed Brunei Suite that has been under occupation since Monday evening.
Tariq Ali began by expressing his support for the occupation, stating it is an activity that does not happen too often, and a sign of political maturity.
In reference to a demonstration by students in Tel Aviv asking for ‘Death to the Arabs’, he expressed sadness over how many people in Israel have forgotten their own history and the slogan of ‘Death to the Jews’ in Europe a few decades ago.
The world is watching this and doing nothing.
There is more that the world watches and does nothing about, such as the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad’s statement that Gaza should be flattened.
As Tariq Ali put it, ‘with rhetoric like this, it is worth asking: what is terrorism?’
The situation cannot be allowed to go on like this. What needs to be considered seriously is what are the choices in this region?
Tariq Ali went on to say that exterminate logic should not be supported, that these are hard times for the Palestinians and the Israelis as well; it will end badly for the latter as well if they carry on like this.
He spoke of how the two-state solution does not seem to be a possibility any more as what would be achieved would most likely be in essence two Palestinian prisons, controlled by Israeli forces; not too different from what exists now.
It would be better to ask for a single state of Israel-Palestine where everyone has the same rights.
‘It can’t go on like this regardless of the passivity of the West’, Tariq Ali reiterated.
Tariq Ali ended by encouraging those present to show up at the big public demonstration that is to take place on Saturday November 24th at Trafalgar Square - to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, to show that people are angry, and to show the what the media propagates is not being swallowed blindly.
The petition of support circulated after the talk received more than a hundred signatures – if you wish to sign the petition, here is the online version: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/soas-4-gaza/