Tag Archives: SAIA

Peace means… ignoring the occupation

The following article is a guest post by Hank Pin from American University Students For Justice in Palestine. Stay tuned for a piece by SAIA’s own Ahmed al-Sayeed:

just be positive
“It’s cool guys, Palestinians just need to forget about the occupation and think on the bright side!” Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CuUzvbMwEw4/TV4ckfdVD5I/AAAAAAAAA-E/PllqifDmvWc/s1600/optimism.jpg

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Miranda Lapides insightful article “Israel Peace Week and Positive Psychology” which explained how giving a conflict a “positive spin” helps to bring out people’s most important values, thereby paving the road to peace.

For one, I am certainly glad that someone has finally taken the subjective idealist framework and applied it in a conflict situation. After all, external material reality is nothing more than perceptions of the mind, right? What are “occupation” and “apartheid” if not mere ideological concepts that exist in the mind?

In fact, let’s acknowledge exactly that. Let’s ignore the countless home demolitions that have occurred in Palestinian villages. Let’s ignore 65 years of humiliation that Palestinians have lived through. Let’s ignore the destruction of lives and households of the Palestinians. After all, these issues are merely just subjective perceptions, and I am sure that the settlers who just uprooted a Palestinian farmer’s olive tree have a just and equally valid subjective perception. Who needs to actually deal with material reality when you have “positive psychology.”

Yes, let’s not talk about the issues that actually effect people’s lives. Let’s focus on some abstract notion of “positivity” and “peace” while people are being oppressed and and having their livelihoods ruined. No, that would too divisive, not helpful for “positive psychology.” Oppression only exists in the mind, you just have to keep convincing yourself that everything is alright and that whatever hardships you experience are merely subjective.

Such is the absurd logic behind the Israel Student Association’s call for “positive psychology,” a call that does not seek to address what is wrong, a call that seeks to ignore the sufferings of others, a call that serves nothing more than to whitewash the actions of the oppressors.

As much as one can wish, the Occupation simply cannot be “thought away” with positive psychology. Daily hardships that people go through do not go away by “focusing on the positives.” No, these are real people with real lives, with real tangible hardships that they have to go through. Appealing to an infantile fantasy that somehow by having “positive psychology” would somehow remedy the situation is not only naïve, but counterproductive.

Advertisements

GMU Students to Walkout of Winter Graduation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GMU Students to Walkout of Winter Graduation

Action Protests Shari Arison, Israeli Billionaire and Apartheid-Profiteer

Fairfax, VA, 17 December 2013

On Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 1:00pm, Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) will lead a walkout of George Mason University’s Winter Commencement ceremony at the Patriot Center on GMU’s Fairfax Campus. University administrators contacted Students Against Israeli Apartheid, responding to this public outcry. After a week-long period of discussion, the university met SAIA’s demand for accommodations for graduating students who did not wish to have their ceremony marred by Arison’s presence, and released the following statement:  “Graduates seated on the arena floor will be able to leave through an exit at the rear of the hall. These individuals will be provided an option of waiting in a reserved room. (…) An event staff member will inform those waiting when the commencement speaker’s remarks have concluded.  Graduates and guests can then re-enter the arena.” This is a historical opportunity for graduating students to demonstrate their commitment to human rights and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian students that have been personally affected by the on-going occupation of Palestine by Apartheid Israel. As the first campus that has resisted the Arison Group’s influence, Mason can set a strong precedent for rejecting the Arison Group’s whitewashing of Israeli Apartheid.

Shari Arison, owner of the Arison Group, is receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and speaking at the commencement ceremony. An open letter written by faculty sponsor Craig Willse and graduating SAIA President Tareq Radi that raised concerns about the Arison Group’s complicity in the occupation of Palestine and highlighted the hypocrisy of an apartheid-profiteer funding an endowed chair to teach “Doing Good Values” was widely read by the campus community. Many students, faculty, and staff who were previously unaware of the nature of the Arison Group’s involvement at Mason were outraged at the prospect of an apartheid-profiteer using the University as a publicity tool.

In the past two weeks, SAIA publicized Arison’s profiteering through a variety of methods. SAIA put up flyers with the slogans “Arison Investments: Colonizing Curriculum” and “No Honor in Apartheid” to resist the trend of privatization at the University and demonstrate how honoring Arison directly contradicts GMU’s new vision and guiding principles. On social media, SAIA utilized #arisonIDEA to show how apartheid would look on Mason’s campus. On the Fairfax campus’ North Plaza, SAIA constructed an eight-foot tall wall to further publicize the campaign. In combination with the open letter, these efforts sparked a discussion within the New Century College, the home of Arison’s endowed professorship. Dean Lisa Gring-Pemble called a meeting on Friday, December 6, for faculty and staff of NCC to air their concerns. As resistance against Arison’s role at George Mason mounts, these conversations are expected to continue.

Students Against Israeli Apartheid

Email: gmusaia@gmail.com

Website: gmusaiablog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @GMUSAIA

Facebook: facebook.com/GMUSAIA

END

Be a part of this historical moment.
Be a part of this historical moment.