UKPC@York at SAIA York Rally for Divestment and Change, a set on Flickr.
March 27, 2013
Toronto, ON--As progressive Filipino Canadians, we condemn Canada’s conservative government for its blatant support of the Israeli state’s occupation and attacks on the Palestinians. We, in solidarity with Students Against Israeli Apartheid, and all other organizations and individuals who are against the illegal occupation of Palestine, fervently declare that we endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
On Thursday March 21, 2013, the York Federation of Students passed a motion to support the BDS Movement. At the board meeting, before the motion was passed, students were given the opportunity to express their opinions on the motion. Those both for and against the motion gave compelling speeches, but it is still clear, as it has always been, who is the oppressor. Yet, a common theme among the Zionist cohort was victimization. In fact, one of the Zionist representatives expressed repeatedly that she would be “uncomfortable” as a student at York University if the motion was passed. Unfortunately, she is not the only one who is “uncomfortable”.
We, Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada, The Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance, are also uncomfortable because York University invests in BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin, all corporations that produce weaponry, violence, displacement, and misery. The Palestinians who have been subjected to forced migration as a result of the illegal occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel, are uncomfortable. The families of the more than 100 people who were killed by Israeli aggression against Gaza are “uncomfortable”. Within the 6-day period between November 14 and November 19, out of the 110 that were brutally massacred, included:
Rinan Arafat, 7 years old.
Fares Al-Basyouni, 11 years old.
Mohammed Sa’d Allah, 4 years old.
Eyad Abu Khusa, 18 months old.
Omar Al-Mashharawi, 11 months old
and Heba Al-Mashharawi, 19 years old, who was 6 months pregnant.
It is with deep regret that I say that Muslims in the Philippines have also been subjected to occupation. Mindanao, the southernmost region in the Philippines, since the 13th century, has been populated almost exclusively by Muslims. Beginning in the 1950s, the central government of the Philippines sponsored the mass migration of Christians from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao. Lands that were traditionally communally owned, were violently appropriated from the indigenous Muslim population, and distributed among the new Christian settlers. Today, violence inflicted by the central government to supress any kind of resistance, has made life for Muslims in Mindanao, Philippines frightening and abject.
However, the conflict in the Philippines is not about Christians and Muslims. Our struggle is against poverty and imperialism, and this struggle is faced by Filipinos both within the Philippines and without. Canada’s live-in Caregiver Program is a cheap labour program that has subjected more than one hundred thousand university-educated Filipino women to degrading, humiliating and exploitative employment as nannies. Migrants, not just from the Philippines, but from all over the world deserve the right to genuine settlement and integration.
I stand here before you in condemnation of the illegal occupation of Palestine, the brutal capitalist occupation of Mindanao, the disgustingly exploitative Live-in-Caregiver Program. I stand here before you in condemnation of capitalist imperialism.
On behalf of UKPC, Enough is enough! The Filipinos are here, and we will not be moved. The Syrians are here, and we will not be moved. The Iraqis are here and we will not be moved. The Libyans are here, and we will not be moved. The Tamils are here, and we will not be moved. The Palestinians are here, the land of Palestine has always existed, and it has not, and never will be moved. We will fight together until our demands, without any concessions, are met. We support the demand for:
The end of the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantlement of the Wall.
The recognition of the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
The Respect, protection, and promotion of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
FREE FREE PALESTINE! OCCUPATION IS A CRIME!