Thousands unite in solidarity with Palestine after over two weeks without ceasefire

Palestinians call out the censorship and lack of education circulating amidst the genocide in Gaza.

Thousands of Montrealers rallied at Dorchester Square on Oct. 22, to demonstrate their support for Palestine. The crowd marched for hours in the rain, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and condemning Canada’s involvement in Israel’s war crimes against Palestinian civilians.

While many protesters wore the keffiyeh, a traditional Middle Eastern scarf that symbolizes resistance, to show solidarity to the Palestinian people, others raised large posters calling attention to the number of lives that have been taken so far due to Israel’s terrorist attacks on Gazans. Grievances were voiced through chants like “Gaza Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die!”

A speaker from the crowd spoke about the painful experience of having to wake up every day and check if his relatives are still alive back home in Gaza. The suppression of Palestinian voices in academic institutions was also denounced by another speaker.   

Several other emergency protests have been held in downtown Montreal over the last few weeks, as Israeli airstrikes continuously targeted homes, schools, hospitals, places of worship, the press and humanitarian facilities.   

Israel’s siege on Gaza has cut off the electricity supply, means of telecommunication, any access to food, clean water, fuel, and proper medical assistance, leaving over 2 million Gazans in urgent need of humanitarian aid. 

Since Oct. 7, 7,028 people have been killed in Gaza, along with 18,484 injured, 1,650 reported missing and around 1.4 million internally displaced. Moreover, healthcare facilities continue to shut down due to destruction or lack of supplies. Despite the constant increase in civilian casualties, the Canadian government has refused to call for a ceasefire. 

A petition was formed against the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), demanding the removal of their group for “Hate Speech and Terrorism Glorification.” However, a member of the SPHR who will remain anonymous for privacy reasons, assured that this petition has not impacted the organization or their work. “We are not doing anything wrong and everything is abiding by the laws set by the CSU,” they said.

They were met with “very mixed reactions” from people they have tried to educate about the ongoing massacres in Gaza. They claimed that while some held biases against Palestinians, others admitted that they were not well informed about the situation. They argued that “a lot of responses came from the influence of mainstream media unfortunately.” 

The SPHR also stated that the university should decry any attempts at doxing Palestinians who speak up about the genocide. “This silence is not acceptable and it takes away from the importance of freedom of speech that we are constantly being reminded of and educated about,” they said. 

Basma and Maya, two Palestinian students at Concordia, claimed to have witnessed many people showing their support for Israel on social media, while staying completely silent as the violence and death tolls escalate in Gaza.

Maya emphasized the lack of education amongst those who did not speak up for Palestine. “You don’t want to talk about it because you don’t know enough about it,” she said.

Basma also remarked on how Western media outlets such as CNN repeatedly ask activists and representatives for Palestine whether they condemn Hamas, yet completely disacknowledge the human rights violations Israel has committed against Palestinian civilians. 

The two students advise everyone to carefully research and inform themselves about the ongoing genocide, as well as reach out to Palestinian students and ask them questions. “It’s not that complicated, it’s not a conflict, it’s an occupation,” Maya asserted.


China and the NBA: Lebron enters the fold

In light of the events leading to a frigid disconnect between the NBA and its connections with China, Lebron James was once again the one left to speak up for the players.

James publicly reprimanded the timing of Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who on Oct. 4, tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The problem with Morey’s tweet is not that he was supporting freedom for a foreign country under a communist government, but rather that he did so while two teams, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, were in the thick of that very regime in China; where they were to play two exhibition games.

Ever since James spoke publicly about Morey’s terrible timing, he’s been under fire for being a supporter of censorship. People are saying his comments are financially motivated, as he doesn’t want to lose all the endorsement money that Nike makes him in China. Fox News paints him as “unamerican” in his position against Morey, who is simply speaking freely, and supporting freedom, as Americans do. HURRAH. This is so typical in more ways than one… Leave it to the USA to impose their constitution on countries halfway across the world, and to dumb down the issue at hand, using ideology as an excuse.

Let’s take a step back and look at this in a rational, practical way.

James doesn’t hate free speech – all of his actions say otherwise. The man founded and funded a public elementary school in his home town of Akron, Ohio, and promises free college tuition to every graduate. He is constantly a voice for the disenfranchised, a philanthropist to those in need, and is openly liberal. What James hates is loose-lipped executives sitting in their ivory towers far, far away, who stir the pot while he’s sitting in it. Despite the tweet only existing for several minutes before being deleted, it sparked a controversy in a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people.

The controversy caused outrage, and hostility. Lebron and his team, as well as the Nets, were simply there to play basketball, and grow the game on an international level. All of a sudden, they’re on the front lines of an international conflict and media storm, where they could have potentially been in political, or even physical danger. What if the Chinese government wouldn’t let them leave? What if Chinese loyalists became violent?

Now, thankfully, those things didn’t happen, but they very well could have. Instead, they experienced a different kind of backlash: The wrath of corporate China. The Chinese broadcast of the two games on their network, CCTV, was cancelled. Tickets became hard to come by.  All corporate logos were taken off the hardwood. Community events involving the players were cancelled. Chinese apparel brands suspended their relations with the NBA. The Chinese Basketball Association, run by Rockets legend Yao Ming, severed all ties with the Rockets. Chinese streaming service Tencent banned Houston from their service. The team’s official apparel is no longer available in China. China has basically censored the hell out of the NBA.

Like many NBA superstars, Lebron James has been visiting China in the offseason for over 10 years on behalf of Nike, who carries his signature shoe and apparel lines. Of course it benefits him financially, why shouldn’t it? Would you spend weeks in China doing promotion for free? I didn’t think so. I assure you the league doesn’t mind either, because it popularizes their sport in a massive market.

More important than money, James is the most impactful ambassador for the sport since Michael Jordan made the NBA an international phenomenon. He cares more about the state of the game than he does his bank account, which is doing fine, I promise. The complete destruction of all the inroads the NBA has built into China is more likely what doesn’t sit well with him. All that time spent globalizing the game, and instilling its values in parts of the world that need them, evaporated in a moment’s notice with a seven word tweet.

But wait, here’s the cherry on top: In an attempt to either limit the damage, or save face with China, the NBA has censored the game in their own way. Fans holding up “Free Tokyo” signs in Philadelphia and Washington have had their posters taken from them by stadium officials. Reporters have been silenced in asking questions about the controversy in Houston. Hypocrisy at its best, right? How is James the one being criticized for being an advocate of conciliatory speech, when the league is clearly guilty of that very thing?

This is why sports and politics should never intersect. Sports bring people together, politics have a tendency to be divisive. James wants Morey to let the game speak for itself, and so do I.


Graphic by Salomé Blain


Editorial: China’s censorship doesn’t have a place at Concordia

On March 26, Concordia University held a conference led by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), where Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uighur Congress, spoke. Isa is an Uighur activist who often speaks at conferences highlighting the ongoing human rights violations Uighur Muslims in China face.

Kyle Matthews, Executive Director of MIGS, told The Concordian: “Before the event, we started to see reports in the media that showed [the] Chinese government and some Chinese students disrupting any events about human rights abuses involving the Uighur or the Tibetans. We were kind of concerned about that and thought our event would get cancelled.”

While the event wasn’t cancelled, a day before it took place, Matthews received an email from the Chinese consul general in Montreal. In the email, Matthews was asked for an urgent meeting to discuss the event and their point of view. Matthews ignored the email, but on the day of the event, he found out that the Chinese consul general was pressuring different people in Montreal to cancel the event.

Matthews decided to ignore the email, and the event still took place with two security officers present to ensure there were no disruptions. In an article by La Presse, the Chinese consul general admitted that he pressured Montreal to cancel the event, saying students shouldn’t be exposed to terrorism. “He made some very bizarre references to the Christchurch terrorism case in New Zealand,” said Matthews. “It didn’t make sense because our speaker wasn’t some member of the far right; he’s actually a Muslim Uighur minority from China.”

This idea of linking Uighur Muslims to terrorism isn’t new—in fact, China has claimed they are dealing with threats and violence from separatist Islamist groups in Xinjiang, but human rights groups argue differently. In 2009, riots in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, killed 200 people, most of whom were Han Chinese—numerous attacks have occurred since then, according to BBC News. Human rights groups argue that this violence erupted from China’s oppression of Uighur Muslims, and these violent events were used by the Chinese government to crack down on Uighur Muslims in February 2017, according to the same source.

Evidence highlights that more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in China are detained in what resembles a “massive internment camp,” according to BBC News. In these camps, detainees are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, renounce their Islamic faith, and swear loyalty to the Communist Party of China and President Xi Jinping, according to the same source.

At first, China ignored the camps’ existence—but in October 2018, Chinese officials legalized “education camps” with the goal of eradicating extremism, according to Vox. Instead of referring to these detainment centres for what they are, the Chinese government has called them “re-education” centres that are meant to fend off terrorism, according to BBC News. Millions of people have disappeared, and Uighur Muslims are under surveillance, according to Vox. Not only that, but officials say these “re-education” centres offer classes on topics such as Chinese history and culture, and have said that inmates are “happier” after their imprisonment, according to CNN. Yet, various camp survivors have said they were physically tortured for the purpose of brainwashing, were sleep deprived, isolated without food and water, and were subject to waterboarding, according to Vox.

It is difficult to know every detail of what Uighur Muslims are currently going through, as China’s lack of freedom of press hinders journalists’ ability to report freely. “What’s deeply troubling is that China is exporting its authoritarianism to Western countries,” said Matthews. “This is the third case of Chinese political interference in events happening at Canadian universities. One was at the University of Toronto, one was at McMaster, and now Concordia comes to number three.”

We at The Concordian believe this situation further highlights how urgent it is for us to discuss what is happening in Xinjiang. We’re proud of our university for offering its security services to ensure the conference took place. The ongoing violation of human rights for Uighur Muslims in China is an issue that must be continuously spoken about. Censorship has no place in Canada, or in Canadian universities—we at The Concordian hope to see this conversation continue and bring change.

Graphic by @sundaemorningcoffee

Student Life

Sifting through the archives: Satire gone sour

Exploring freedom of speech and censorship within Concordia

As academics, journalists and curators of the public sphere, knowing when to stand by your work is as important as being accountable for it. Journalists in particular carry the responsibility of disseminating information, and, as a result, are rightfully held under constant scrutiny for the content they publish. The same goes for The Concordian, where, throughout its existence, there have been a few instances of backlash to content we’ve published.

Throughout the mid-90s, The Other Side was a column frequently published in The Concordian by then-journalism student, Elena McLeod. On Nov. 2 1994, the column featured a satirical article written by Mark Rollins, an alias adopted by McLeod, taking on the perspective of sexist male-chauvinists she frequently encountered on campus.

McLeod’s column was raunchy yet progressive when you read between the lines, at least for the mid-90s. It opens with: “I love breasts… Breasts of all dimensions, colour and texture. I love ‘em if they salute the sun or kiss the ground… I’m not ashamed to admit that hooters preoccupy my thoughts 24 hours a day,” writes Rollins. The column goes on to reference a GUESS ad: “[…] everytime I saw Anna Nicole Smith hawking Guess Jeans [sic], I’d blow my load… I swear, these ads should come with a handy Kleenex dispenser,” writes Rollins.

Satire, when done correctly, can be a great way to comment on complex issues by poignantly revealing the power dynamics behind the story. In The Other Side, satire was used as a way to reveal how ludicrous the hypersexualization of the female body and conforming to the male gaze is. McLeod, a.k.a. Rollins, sought to comment on this hypersexualization by using nearly every ‘locker-room’ way of talking about breasts, to the extent that it could not be anything but satire.

The Other Side was a satire column that frequently appeared in what was then called the Arts and Culture section of The Concordian in 1994. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

However, satires can often miss their intended mark, whatever that may be. Think back to 2015, when The Beaverton published and quickly retracted their absolutely appalling article after Ashley Callingbull, from the Enoch Cree Nation in Alberta, won Mrs. Universe. The Beaverton published a headline that, as they later stated in their apology, was meant to “call out the media for their failure to properly cover missing and murdered [Indigenous] women.” However, while some say they understood the twisted truth behind the headline, many, including some Indigenous advocates, did not see the humour or value in publishing such a serious topic under the guise of humour. When satires aren’t published in complete distaste, they can often be interpreted literally, which leads to a separate slew of issues.

As one could imagine, not every student on campus understood that The Other Side was a satire. The article’s literal interpretation incited a massive backlash from the student body, and by the following week’s issue on Nov. 9, The Concordian had received heaps of phone messages, letters and faxes (yes, faxes) from enraged students denouncing both the publication and Rollins/McLeod.

Most of these comments were published in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section, next to a column where McLeod came out as Rollins. On Nov. 16, two weeks after the satire column hit print, and a week after McLeod claimed Rollins’ identity, there was still so much continued backlash from the student body, now enraged at McLeod for publishing the column to begin with.

In lieu of all the backlash, McLeod sat down for an interview with Samaana Siddiqui, then-staff writer from The Concordian, to continue to explain that her intent was to generate a public discussion about the hypersexualization of the female body in a way that was not “shoving women’s issues down people’s throats,” said McLeod. However, for many readers, McLeod’s goals in writing the article did not justify the alleged sexism present in the piece that appeared without context, writes Siddiqui.

The Concordian has been telling your stories since 1983. A photo of the archives room in our Loyola office. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

The inclusion of McLeod’s article in a student-funded publication then became a debate between free speech and censorship, generating even more letters to the editor, all continuing to denounce The Concordiansome personally attacking McLeod and her sexuality.

According to Siddiqui, a student-run protest was meant to gather outside of The Concordian’s office to demand the return of their levy fees, though the rally never happened. Many Concordia affiliated groups such as the Women’s Centre and the Quebec Public Interest Group circulated a letter to The Concordian’s ad sponsors, encouraging them to sever their partnerships, according to Siddiqui.

The backlash created so many ripple effects, bordering industry blacklisting, that then-Editor-in-Chief Daniel Nemiroff published an editorial on Nov. 23 supporting McLeod and her piece. “If it will help the offended for me to express regret, I’m willing to weep with you,” writes Nemiroff. “I will not, however…censor young writers, or curtail freedom of expression.”

Journalists are held to high standards for their content, and are constantly faced with the threat of backlash, which is all the more immediate given the advent of social media. This scrutiny is completely necessary, which makes finding a suitable balance between validating the opinions of readers and supporting the freedom of expression for writers highly contextual.

Feature photo by Alex Hutchins


YouTube’s monetization policy is anti-free speech

Content creators have to watch what they say if they want to be advertiser-friendly

In the past few years, YouTube has established itself as more than just a video-sharing platform. With Google AdSense and advertisements on every video, the website’s content creators have been able to make a living off of their videos.

One would just have to look at gaming YouTuber PewDiePie, who according to Forbes, makes close to $7 million a year—to see how successful content creators can become.

However, recently, more and more YouTubers have been noticing that their videos can no longer be monetized from ads because YouTube has been flagging their videos as not “advertiser-friendly.” This means that they cannot make money off of the ads played on their videos. For YouTubers who use the platform to make a living, the demonetization of their videos can affect their livelihood.

The biggest YouTuber to bring this issue to light was news and entertainment host Philip DeFranco. On Aug. 31, he posted a video called “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do.” In the video, DeFranco said 12 of his videos had been demonetized for inappropriate language and graphic content.

According to YouTube’s policy, the things that DeFranco was flagged for were considered unsuitable for advertising. The policy states that content that has sexually suggestive elements, violence, inappropriate language and controversial and sensitive topics, will not be able to be monetized.

This practice that YouTube has adopted is especially concerning, considering that news channels reporting on hot-button issues are being flagged as well. The progressive news outlet, The Young Turks, reported on their YouTube channel that hundreds of their videos were flagged for containing words such “feminism,” “ISIS” and “terrorism” in either the video’s title or metadata. Metadata provides a description regarding other data data, and essentially categorizes and analyzes the item’s content, according to

Before, YouTube did not have these rules in place and content creators were free to talk about whatever they wanted to—without having to worry about not making money. YouTube claims these rules have always been in place, but reports of demonetization only began around the same time that DeFranco made his video denouncing it. An article by, showed that YouTube has had their advertising policies in place since March of 2015. YouTuber and Concordia University professor Gad Saad reported on The Rubin Report on Aug. 8 that he had been hit with demonetization in the past, however, due to his channel not being as large, the story was never reported. Saad’s case is a perfect example of how YouTube has been lowkey hurting it’s content creators, without the public knowing.

YouTube’s new terms of service when it comes to advertisements is deeply disturbing, not to mention very anti-free speech. News channels that rely on YouTube are now going to see a decline in revenue, since many of the topics they report on are no longer advertiser-friendly, according to YouTube.

Furthermore, YouTubers like MrRepzion, The Amazing Atheist and Saad will no longer be able to make as much money on YouTube due to their stances on issues such as religion, feminism and the Middle East.

In the past, YouTube was regarded as a platform for free speech, but now it has become part of the political correctness hysteria. These new monetization rules are essentially telling content creators that certain opinions and topics are okay to profit off of, while others are simply too provocative or controversial. If YouTube is going to have monetization, it should either be for all or for nobody.

To add insult to injury, YouTube is not looking past titles and metadata to assess the content. YouTuber Boogie2988 reported on his channel that a video of his had been taken down for having the word “suicide” in the tags. However, the video was about his personal struggle with depression. Boogie was just trying to help other people by detailing his experience, yet his positive message was deemed “not advertiser-friendly”.

YouTube’s new rules are ultimately a sly attempt at silencing those who are controversial, without simply deleting their accounts—that would be too obvious. However, in addition to limiting free speech, YouTube has failed by falsely flagging people and putting their livelihoods at stake.

If this policy isn’t changed, the end of YouTube might be closer than we think.

Graphic by Thom Bell

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