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Too much talk on the Middle East

by Archives February 12, 2003

When one thinks of Concordia, one tends to think of the Middle East and how the debate on this issue has dominated the campus and how this debate can turn some student protesters into a mob.

It is now time to move away from this one issue as being the dominant topic students debate on campus.

Most students at Concordia are neither pro-Israeli nor pro-Palestinian and they are tired of the debate on campus, which is neither constructive nor respectful. Moreover, the average student literally tunes out when passing an Israeli or Palestinian information table. Many students do not even discuss the issue, but only discuss the tensions between the two student groups. These tensions are what makes this debate non-constructive.

What made this debate on campus so dominant is the energy put in this debate by students who are directly affected by the situation in the Middle East and the national media coverage.

There was too much media coverage about the Middle East debate on campus by outside media. The debate on the Middle East is occurring at every university and there is nothing special about that. What made Concordia special was the planned visit by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ramifications of the event. After this event was covered, the reporting should have been kept to a minimum.

Furthermore, the student union has a role to lead students. The student union must not allow one topic to dominate the debate on campus and must encourage discussion on other issues, as well. What about the impending war in Iraq? There has not been a great deal of activities surrounding this issue and should this war go ahead there will be dire consequences. What about the oil crisis in Venezuela? What about the price of tuition?

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is important and should be debated, as that is what being at university is all about, but it should not be the dominant issue on a campus that is culturally rich and diverse.

Unfortunately, for those debating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict most students are not even paying attention to the discussion and the debate is mostly for those on either side of issue who are passionate about it. The Middle East issue is turning into a dead one from too much discussion.

It is time that Concordia starts furiously debating about something else and let there be a variety of things that students can discuss, as that would enrich the university experience of students.

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