Protests in NDG: CDN in defense of Palestinian Solidarity

The Revolutionary Communist Party came together in defense of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest peacefully.

During the week of March 10, the Revolutionary Communist Party held two demonstrations in support of Palestine in Montreal. The first was on Tuesday, March 12 in front of Premier Justin Trudeau’s constituency office to protest the federal government’s decisions regarding Palestine and the selling of land on the West Bank.

“These capitalist regimes have decided to bet everything on genocide on the Palestinian people,” said Fehr Marouf, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

According to Marouf, this was the first time the party had organized a demonstration directly in their name. The protest was small, with around 50 attendees, but Marouf believes it is the start of something, even if it’s just the party and their supporters for now.

The Trudeau government has been placed under scrutiny for sending military aid to Israel, something that may go against Canadian export law stating that Canada may not supply weapons if they may be used to break international law. In light of this, new export permits to Israel have been frozen indefinitely, according to CTV news.

The Trudeau administration also significantly changed a motion put forth by the New Democratic Party (NDP) to recognize Palestine as a state. What the Liberal party offered was a conditional acceptance based on the goal of the two-state solution, which would allow Israel to keep existing alongside Palestine as opposed to the landback goal that the RCP is calling for.

The second demonstration held on Friday, March 15 was called to protest the Quebec government injunction against pro-Palestinian protests outside Jewish institutions in Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It took place in Girouard park. Less than 10 people attended, but passers-by would stop and ask questions.

A member of the party giving a speech to protest the war in Gaza and show their unwavering support for the Palestinian people. Photo by Semira Kosciuk / The Concordian

The Revolutionary Communist Party came together in defense of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest peacefully.

“There’s been a process of many years of land being taken up by settlers in this area. Where it looks like—if you look on a map—it looks like a big chunk of land, but over time, bits and pieces have been eaten up,” said Calvin Brett, a member of the party.

Criticism of the pro-Palestine movement arose. Trudeau has denounced violence from both sides, something that has frustrated certain activists, as they feel this doesn’t acknowledge the issue.

“No one should in this movement—the Palestine movement—be against someone going to pray or engaging in their culture in any way they see fit,” Brett said. “The actual continuation of this genocidal onslaught in Palestine was continuing here in our neighbourhood.”

Friday’s rally was proposed by fellow party member Tony Miller-Smith after the injunction was announced. He believes he should be able to protest in the neighbourhood he lives and works in. Miller-Smith also stressed the importance of collective action in the fight to free Palestine.

“If you want to fight to free Palestine, you should help us build a Revolutionary Communist Party that can help to overthrow the Quebec capitalists and the Canadian capitalists,” he said.

Soccer Sports

The Palestinian national soccer team: A story of resilience

Palestine’s dream at the AFC Asian Cup ends in the round of 16.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Palestinian national soccer team made history in Qatar just 1,800 km from Gaza, bringing some positive energy to a country ravaged by a war that has seen the death of over 25,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7.

Under the lights in Doha, Palestine scored three goals against Hong Kong to capture their first-ever victory in an AFC Asian Cup match. This win, coupled with a 1-1 draw obtained against the United Arab Emirates five days prior, meant that Palestine also qualified for the Asian Cup knockout stage for the first time in their history.

Sara, whose last name was withheld at her request, is originally from Gaza but now lives in Montreal with her immediate family. 

After witnessing the horrors happening in the Gaza Strip and knowing some of her family is there, she expressed some desolation toward the participation of Israeli athletes in international sports competitions. A ban on Israeli athletes would not have been an unprecedented measure. For example, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sporting federations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) banned Russia from participating in sporting events. Although these bans have been partly lifted since, neither the IOC nor FIFA have done the same for Israel.

When she was younger, Sara never expected to see her country represented at the big sporting events. In that sense, she believes the Palestinian national team’s achievements exemplify the Palestinian people’s resilience. “Whenever you see a Palestinian, know that they have worked 1,000 times harder to be where they are today,” she said. 

Some Palestinians are writers, some are journalists, some are poets, and some are soccer players, but they all fight to represent their country, she explained. If she’d had the opportunity to speak with the players and tell them one thing before their round of 16 match against Qatar, it would have been to play as if they were fighting for their lives. 

And fight they did. It was always going to be a hard task for Palestine, who had to face Qatar, the reigning Asian Cup champion and host of the tournament. Despite being the underdog, it was Palestine who would strike first in the 37th minute. After a clever interception by Zaid Qunbar, striker Oday Dabbagh scored his third goal of the tournament with a well-placed shot in the bottom right corner. However, two Qatari goals, one just before and after halftime, would ultimately deny Palestine of an even more historic run in the AFC Asian Cup.

Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

Student Organized Day of Screenings: Rethinking Palestine Through Films

Don’t miss the films screened during Concordia art history student-organised week of events for Palestine.

On the week of Jan. 29, a group of Concordian art history students organised a week of events for Palestine. Their intention was to host meaningful sites of horizontal solidarity, seeking to platform Palestinian artists and stories of resistance in conversation with decolonial art histories and artworks.

Their events included a teach-in on Jan. 29, with Palestinian artists Jenin Yaseen and Sameerah Ahmad, whose work was briefly censored from the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibition Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery, which opened on Oct. 28, for its depictions of Muslim mourning traditions and the presence of Palestinian subjects. The works of Jewish artists were also removed from display. Following an 18-hour action of solidarity where the artists and 50 supporters rallied outside the museum to challenge its censorship, the pieces were reinstalled. However, the museum placed warnings and context panels next to the artists’ works. 

At the date of this article’s publication the group will host a Day of Film Screenings in collaboration with Raah lab, Raah, a research lab aiming to examine the intersection of migratory processes and media practices, entitled “Decolonizing Memory: Heritage, Displacement and Narratives of Resistance.” The films will screen in Raah Fab, FB. 630.17. Not sure which screening to attend, or missed one you were interested in? Here are details about each screening:

12:30-2pm: The Truth: Lost at Sea (dir. Rifat Audeh, 2017) is an award-winning film that discusses the Israeli attack on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, consisting of a convoy of six civilian boats from various nations, including Canada, carrying humanitarian aid. The Freedom Flotilla refused Israel’s demand to turn away as they neared Gaza on international waters, and were raided by Israeli Occupation Forces in an overnight attack. Numerous unarmed civilian human rights activists were killed, and the film details the story of this attack and its resulting media coverage from the perspective of one of the survivors. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director, moderated by Claire Begbie, a PhD candidate in film studies at Concordia. 

3-4:30pm: A series of short films by Forensic Architecture, a research agency, based in Goldsmiths, University of London, which investigates human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. The featured shorts focus on investigations of Palestine/Israel, including:  Conquer and Divide (2019),  Living Archeology in Gaza (2022), Executions and mass graves in Tantura, 23 May 1948 (2023), Destruction and Return in Al-Araqib (2017), Sheikh Jarrah: Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem (2021), and Herbicidal Warfair in Gaza (2019). These films employ cutting-edge techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open source investigation, digital modelling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and academic collaboration to discuss the history and current situation in Palestine. The screening will be preceded by a presentation on Forensic Architecture by guest Dr. Tracy Valcourt.

5-6pm: Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (dir. Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, 2019) discusses the treatment of plundered objects in European museums and asylum seekers in the same European countries. Arguing these migrations are interrelated, the film juxtaposes the generous hospitality stolen objects receive by the same countries who deny entry and care to people to whom the objects truly belong. Un-Documented articulates the power of material culture as a bastion of human rights, illuminating the violence of plunder and the urgency of repatriation. This screening will be introduced by art history doctorate student, Alexandra Nordstrom.

6:30-8pm: La Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone) (dir.  Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner, 2013), which details the 1964 theft of the Tlaloc stone, the largest carved stone of the Americas from the town of Coatlinchan to the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. The film explores the importance of so-called ruins of the past in the present day, to shore up the living injury of extraction, the technologies of violence, and the construction of nationalism. This screening will be introduced by art history masters candidate, Karina Roman Justo.

The remainder of the week of action include a Day of Action, including zine making and letter writing, on Jan. 31; a group gallery tour of Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot’s Russia at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to critically engage aesthetics of resistance on Feb. 1; and a vigil in collaboration with Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) Concordia on Feb. 2. 


Pro-Palestinian students blame mainstream media for biased coverage in Israel-Hamas war

Montreal students demand an end to unfair media coverage.

As the Israel-Hamas war continues to create polarized tensions, students in Montreal accuse the media of biased coverage and creating mistrust.

At a pro-Palestian march on Nov. 9, protesters directly targeted Radio Canada, TVA and CTV, all of whom were present. The protesters yelled: “Every time the media lies, neighborhoods in Gaza die. Shame on you!”

At the demonstration, a young woman half-masked by a red keffiyeh was surrounded by individuals holding “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Ending the genocide of the Palestinian people” signs, when she took the megaphone to denounce TVA Nouvelles. 

“They [TVA] said there were only Arabo-muslims yesterday,” she added, referring to the incident at Concordia the previous day. “Can I hear all the other nationalities and religions here?” The crowd replied: “Yes!”

The march occurred a day after the incident at Concordia’s Hall Building on Nov. 8. The aftermath of the incident caused tensions to rise on campus, as various media outlets attempted to accurately recount the beginning of the conflict through interviews.

The Concordia pro-Israel club StartUp Nation called out CBC’s latest article, promising to “release the truth about yesterday’s horrific events on Concordia campus.” 

According to a statement given to CBC, “Pro-Israel people came barging in and began screaming anti-Palestinian slogans and slurs at them.” This statement was denied by StartUp Nation. The group has since then published videos of the escalation on Instagram that contradict the statement given to the CBC.

During the protest, The Concordian spoke to various students from neighboring universities, to get their thoughts on the media coverage of events that ocurred over the past few days.

Karim, a UQAM student, deplored the polarizing angle of Canadian media stories. “The media are trying to show some sort of consent that Israel is right to do what they’re doing,” Karim said. “But people don’t believe them anymore. The information intensely flows through social media.”

Luz Montero, a UQAM student, held a painted portrait of Netanyahu with the word “infanticide” sprayed around his head. Montero said she stopped following mainstream media, instead getting information through alternative media. “The last thing I saw from CNN, I was like, ‘Oh my God, come on… Stop!,’” Montero said. “We are not ignorant, we know what’s happening there.”

David Derland-Beaupré, a Concordia student and member of La Riposte Socialiste, recounted challenging a Radio-Canada reporter about their support for either the pro- or anti-Israeli. “Where you don’t take sides, you take the side of those who oppress,” he told them. “So you have to expect that people don’t trust you anymore.”

Tara, a member of the Independent Jewish Voices at McGill, weighed in on the Nov. 8  incident at Concordia’s Hall building. “It’s really a horrific show of what divisive rhetoric can do, especially from university administrations that have a duty of care to protect all of their students rather than just a certain cohort,” Tara expressed. 

While Thursday’s protest was unfolding, the Canadian Jewish Advocacy (CJA) federation held a press conference to express safety concerns following two Jewish school gunshots that occurred overnight.

Yair Szlak, CEO of CJA, said that the pro-Palestinian protest was “salt in the wounds” of the Jewish community, as the demonstration was scheduled on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Nazi assault against the Jews in 1938. “The poster that [the pro-Palestinian protesters] use shows the breaking of glass,” Szlak said. “‘Kristallnacht’ means the night of broken glass,” which represents antisemitism for the Jewish community.

During a press conference on Nov. 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that Canada is indeed facing a rise in antisemitism, which instills fear in Canadians across the country.  

“We need to make sure that Canadians are doing what we do best, which is listening to our neighbors, understanding and acknowledging our neighbors’ pain, even though it may be diametrically opposed in its cause, to the same pain that we are feeling.”

Briefs News

Violent protests erupt in Concordia’s Hall Building

Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protests broke out, requiring police intervention.

At around 12 p.m. on Wednesday, pro-Palestine and pro-Israel gatherings were held in the Hall building. The Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) were holding a keffiyeh sale to raise money for the humanitarian crisis in Palestine Jewish students from Hillel and Start-up Nation arrived soon after to their Shabbat dinner event “to honor and bring awareness to over 240 innocent civilians help captive by Hamas in Gaza.”

Both groups were unaware that they would simultaneously be tabling at the exact same time, as they planned their respective events. For context, SPHR had announced the keffiyeh sale on their Instagram account on Nov. 5. According to an Instagram post by Concordia’s Israeli club, the StartUp Nation, the table for the vigil for Israelis kidnapped by Hamas was booked on Nov. 3. The gatherings at Hall Building soon escalated into protests as members that were not a part of the Concordia community arrived on scene to support their respective groups.

Campus security took action and created a barrier between the two groups, only for about 20 SPVM officers to arrive and diffuse the situation. 

One witness, a Concordia student who wished to remain anonymous, said they saw the police officers create a barrier behind a pro-Israeli activist after they saw this person hit a pro-Palestinian activist with a sign.

The same witness also added that “when the police arrived on scene, they were pretty violent with the pro-Palestinian activists, one officer shoved many protestors and brandished a baton.”

“In my view,” the witness said, “the protest centred on calls for ceasefire and an end to apartheid—there was a statement from an [palestinian] organizer that denounced antisemitism and stated that the fight is with the state of Israel and not Jews.” 

Protesters were seen ripping flags, and throwing water bottles and punches. Two pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested and several other protesters from both sides were injured.

“I’d like it to be known that the protest was not one of hatred towards Jews, but a denouncement of the crimes of the Israeli state,” the witness said about the pro-Palestinian protest. “I believe that is an incredibly important distinction to make.”

Following the events, SPHR released a statement yesterday morning saying “they would like to remind everyone that we, the students, will NOT allow this to deter us from our continued advocacy for the freedom of the Palestinian people.” 

More to come on this developing story.


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.

Briefs News

Concordia students walk out in support of Palestinians

Last week, Concordia students left class for a sit-in to denounce the war in Gaza.

Around 500 students gathered in Concordia’s Hall building last week for a walk-out in support of Palestinians in Gaza and around the world. Similar actions were held at McGill University, Dawson College, UQAM and Université de Montréal. 

The event was organized by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), a Montreal-based group advocating for the liberation of Palestine. 

According to Noor, a representative of SPHR who did not disclose their last name for security reasons, the action had two goals: promoting “BDS,” which stands for “boycott, divestment, and sanction,” and condemning the normalisation of violence against Palestinians. 

Noor explained that SPHR is asking Concordia to stop investing in initiatives that support Israel.

“I think that we need to put our money where our mouth is, and the students are all speaking and they’re all saying that we stand for human rights,” Noor said. “And in this context, human rights are on the side of the Palestinians.”

Noor was happy with the number of people who showed up to the event and said that SPHR received supportive messages online from students who wanted to come but couldn’t make it.

“I am beyond hopeful for the future of our cause. Today was so inspiring,” Noor said. “Not only did we put this together in less than a week, but we did it in peak midterm season. The turnout was by far beyond anything that we could have expected.” 

They were glad that Concordia students were ready to show support for the Palestinian community. “We’ve got to keep building this community, not only in order to spread awareness and fight for our cause, but also to strengthen ourselves,” Noor said, “because as a Palestinian, the diaspora existing and taking care of ourselves is an act of resistance in and of itself.” 

Photos by Kaitlynn Rodney / The Concordian

War is not a soccer game

When it comes to war, we should not be divided.

Almost two weeks ago, I woke up to my phone flooded with news, messages and post notifications about the Israeli airstrike in Palestine. Later, pro-Palestine marches were held in downtown Montreal. On the other side, Israel’s supporters also organized a rally in front of the Israeli Consulate in Westmount. Both groups want to end the war. Both are against killing innocent souls. 

Before expressing my own view on the Israel-Hamas war, let me tell you my own war story. In the summer of 2006, I went to Lebanon for vacation. Two weeks in, Israel started throwing bombs on South Lebanon, which was where I was staying at the time. My mom received phone calls from several family members urging her to find shelter because a war was about to begin. 

We quickly packed up and went to my aunt’s house. That night was the beginning of a living hell. All we would hear was a helicopter, followed by a loud explosion. Both felt like thunder and an earthquake at the same time. Every second felt like playing Russian roulette. Is our building next? Am I next? Will my family and I be alive tomorrow? 

Our nights were dark. A light turned on at night would signify the presence of civilians in that building. I remember being afraid of lighting a candle to find my way to the bathroom.

We spent the rest of the war at my grandparent’s house on the sixth floor. I clearly remember how I would see the bomb dropping and a building collapsing before my eyes. My heart used to beat so fast that I felt it was physically going to burst out of my chest. No one and nothing can erase those memories that I will always fall short of describing.

During the period when I used to live in Lebanon, I learned to think of Israelis as our enemies. I also learned to look down on people with different religious beliefs and sexual orientations. As I grew up and eventually moved to Canada, I un-learned everything that I know now is wrong. I started loving people for who they are, regardless of our differences. The world is already full of hatred, so why can’t we be the ones spreading love and acceptance?

For this war, I will not support one country over the other. What I choose to support is ending violence against the unarmed population. I believe innocent souls do not deserve to be taken because of a war between governments. It is crucial to remember that they are all humans in the end and it is our responsibility to show each other solidarity. To me, anything that does not support peacemaking for both countries is simply unethical.


Open letter to my Jewish community

In the midst of the Israel-Hamas war*, it is more important than ever to educate ourselves on the full scope of the conflict* and perspectives beyond our own.

This is a difficult letter to write. Not only is the subject matter so complex, but the delicacy it takes to address an entire group of individuals—especially a group that I belong to—is immense. My intention is not to instigate, rather to share my thoughts and remark on what I’ve noticed in the wake of recent events. 

Following the break-out of war in Israel, people have taken adamant and fervent stances. I have seen many members of my Jewish community sharing Zionist views—that is to say, standing firmly with Israel and advocating for the nation’s protection at all costs. In the process, this rhetoric fails to acknowledge Palestinian experiences and the full scope of the war. Though distress at the Hamas killings is more than understandable, failing to acknowledge the immense Palestinian death toll and the inhumane conditions for civilians in Gaza is not. As Jewish people, and within the context of our complex relationship with Israel, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the issue from an unbiased perspective. We cannot use our own suffering to justify violence. 

Education on the issue is an ongoing process that takes on many forms, but it includes doing research into the harsh realities of the war and the history of the ongoing conflict, seeking out and listening to Palestinian voices, and having difficult conversations about Israel and what it means to be Jewish, especially in this moment. 

I understand that the Jewish relationship can vary widely. Some Jews may have been raised to believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people and may now exist in a Zionist echo chamber. On the other end of the spectrum, many Jews are adamantly anti-Zionist yet may know Zionist community members or have Israeli relatives. I believe you can acknowledge these nuances while also condemning a corrupt government and the actions it has taken.

That being said, I also understand the frustration of constantly being conflated with Israel and being held accountable for the actions of the Israeli government. Though anti-Zionism does not equal antisemitism and one can absolutely criticize Israel without being antisemitic, these views are often used to justify antisemitism. This is in large part to blame for the dramatic rise in antisemitic hate crimes throughout North America, which is dismaying and frightening to see. Yet again, we must not use these examples of violence to diminish Palestinian experiences. There has been a serious increase in anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim hate crimes as well, which is not to compare experiences or play games of “who has it worse,” but rather to point out a universal lack of humanity in regards to this issue. Suffering is not mutually exclusive—as Jews, we absolutely can (and should) mourn our own losses while also acknowledging the experiences of other groups and condemning all violence toward them. 

Though I am specifically addressing my own Jewish community in this letter, its basic concept extends universally. Everyone is raised with a distinct set of values, which become more complicated once religion and culture are involved. However, we do not exist in a vacuum with our own people, and our perspective on the world often fails to reflect that. To stand obstinately with one’s values despite evidence from the opposition is not admirable, it is only damaging. How can humans progress if we don’t educate ourselves and make an active effort toward evolving? Every case of positive progress—civil rights, LGBTQIA2S+ rights, women’s rights—is only hindered by people who refuse to reevaluate the ideas they so firmly believe in. 

We cannot choose what set of beliefs we are born into, and we cannot control the information we are raised with. What we can control is the information we seek out, and what we choose to do about it.


*Edit, March 31 2024: I would like to make a long overdue correction to the language I used in this letter at the time of publication. It is abundantly clear that this is not a war, but rather a genocide of the Palestinian people. It is not an ongoing conflict, but rather an ongoing occupation. As such, much of the wording used here is inadequate for communicating the true devastation of Israeli occupation and the impacts of Zionism. As the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza continues to rise, there is less and less place for “nuance” in these discussions.

    Concert Reviews Music

    Gaza Mon Amour: A night of music, poetry, art and solidarity at La Sala Rossa 

    Montreal benefit concert and silent auction raises over $12,000 for Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund.

    On Oct. 23, a benefit concert and silent auction for Gaza was held at La Sala Rossa. Montrealers gathered to raise money for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). 

    The benefit featured music, art, poetry, passion and grief. Poet Ehab Lotayef delivered a speech and recited poetry in Arabic and English. “Our wounds, our demolished homes, / our violated skies, our teary eyes […] / protect us from your false promises / your empty words / and your Peace initiatives,” he recited, unrushed and with poignancy. Tamara Filyavich of Independent Jewish Voices also delivered a speech.

    The first performance of the evening, by Hip-Hop artist Blxck Cxsper, was vivid and hard-hitting yet easy to dance to. “Nobody will be free until we’re all free,” they said. “Don’t turn off the news please, don’t try to ignore what’s going on.”

    Ons Ammouchi and Josh Greenberg opened their set with a moment of silence, setting the stage for a poignant performance. The audience remained hushed, transfixed by Ammouchi’s soulful voice and the gentle strum of Greenberg’s oud.

    Montreal DJ 1-Speed Bike―also the drummer for Montreal-based Godspeed You! Black Emperor―created a distinct, mesmeric musical ambiance between sets and speeches. Also performing were Yoo Doo Right, Durex, pOKmon and Yenne Velt.

    The silent auction featured items and services from dozens of Montreal artists, artisans, designers, music venues and other organizations. Left Wing Books had a stand representing a range of anti-racist, feminist and left-wing literature, with 20 percent of book sales designated to PCRF. 

    A donation of $20 per person was suggested. The show sold out at 300 people, with an additional 100 donations made after. A total of $12,000 was raised, not including donations made directly to PCRF at the door.


    Thousands come together in support of Palestine in Downtown Montreal

    Downtown Montreal was flooded with supporters for Palestinian liberation.

    As war rages on between Israel and Hamas, demonstrators in Montreal banded together to show support for Palestine.

    This war has prompted pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal and across the world. On Oct. 13, protesters gathered in downtown Montreal to show their support for Palestinians. 

    “We all know of Israel’s occupation,” said Emna Maaref, a woman of Tunisian origin who was attending the protest. “It is only normal that the people of Palestine would want to be freed.”

    The war started on the morning of Oct. 7 when Hamas launched an offensive against Israel. The day after, Israel officially declared war against Hamas. Since then, there have been approximately 3,500 casualties and 12,500 wounded on the Palestinian side. Around a million Palestinians have also been displaced because of the conflict. While Israel had 1,400 casualties and 120,000 people displaced.

    The demonstration drew people from many backgrounds, not just middle eastern people.

    “I have full solidarity with Palestine,” said Richard Davis. “Canada should stop aiding Israel with imperialism.” Davis was among the many who decided to go out and voice his support for the liberation of Palestine.

    Many protesters refused or hesitated to speak to the media at Friday’s demonstration. Many even hid their faces to protect themselves from the media.

    “It’s not a new conflict,” said a woman of middle eastern descent who wished to remain anonymous. “For us, it’s not a political issue, it is more of a compassion thing. We are proud that Palestinians are doing something to liberate themselves.”

    She argued that no country has ever won their independence peacefully. “I grew up with Palestine being everywhere in my life, love for Palestine, my father talking about Palestine. Palestine is etched to our hearts.”

    “Hearing about Palestine throughout my life made me want to participate,”said Yasmine Rahmani, who was one of the participants in the demonstration, said that the reason she decided to attend was to make a difference beyond the bounds of social media. 

    She criticized Canada for not doing enough to help Palestine, but also thought that maybe it is for the best to not get involved. “Western countries should not include themselves within this conflict, since it is their fault anyway that this conflict even exists.” 

    The demonstration went on peacefully, as its chants filled the streets of downtown Montreal. Protesters united their voices and sang: “Justin Trudeau you will see, Palestine will soon be free!”


    Palestinians deserved Netflix’s Mo

    Why Mo Amer’s new Netflix series is the most culturally significant thing you’ll watch this year

    Mohammed Amer is a Palestinian-American comedian, and co-creator of Mo on Netflix, along with Golden Globe-winning Egyptian-American actor Ramy Youssef. 

    The A24 series follows Mo Najjar as he navigates his life as a Palestinian refugee in Texas. The series is heavily autobiographical and the events are based on the experiences of Mohammed “Mo” Amer.  

    In one scene, Mo puts down a bottle of olive oil on the dinner table, freshly made by his mother, Yusra. “It’s nothing like the stuff back home,” she says.

    The olive oil is a piece of home in Texas, so he holds on to it everywhere he goes as he juggles the intricacies of being Muslim and Palestinian in America.

    The TV we consume shape our mindsets, paired up with research and an open mind, some TV shows that shine the spotlight on Muslim and Arab communities are a good place to start. `

    Mo is the representation Palestinians have been craving.

    My Palestinian family and I watched it from our living room in Kuwait and have never felt more seen because finally, we got a show with accurate Arabic dialogue and relatable family dynamics. 

    My family comes from a city by the coast of Palestine called Haifa, but after the occupation of Palestine my grandparents fled to Kuwait, where I was born and raised. I had grown up so far away from what I felt resonated with my identity as a Palestinian. 

    Similarly, Mo’s parents were forced out of Haifa by the Isreali Defense Force (IDF), leaving them with no passports or residency anywhere. They ended up living in Kuwait, but had to leave after the Gulf War in 1990, the same war my parents endured as teenagers. 

    The details of Mo’s life felt so familiar it kept my family and I enticed for all eight episodes of the series, because watching something so relatable was so gratifying. The main character is undeniably flawed, authentic, and hilarious. 

    He juggles his relationship, illegal immigrant status, the weight of providing for his family, and the tragic death of his father as we watch his mental health deteriorate. Despite being a fictional character, the issues and struggles he represents are very real.

    Alongside his traumatic flashbacks and nightmares caused by his father’s death, I found it insightful that an Arab character overcomes substance abuse issues on-screen. Mo develops an addiction to lean (a mixture of cough syrup and soda), shedding light on an important scope in Muslim and Arab communities that is often dismissed.

    Drug addiction and substance abuse are prominent within our communities (almost everyone I know has a nicotine addiction), but cultural and religious stigma stop us from confronting the uncomfortable reality of it.

    Even withdrawal symptoms are portrayed in the series, when Mo sits in the waiting room of the courthouse the day of their asylum case, sweating, vomiting, and struggling from a lack of sleep.

    Yet the series remains funny and lighthearted, and comedy television seems to be the only thing that humanizes these groups to the Western world.

    There is something refreshing about laughing at the jokes of a main character who resembles your cousins and uncles, and remains a Muslim Arab character who isn’t battling loss and confusion with their identity.

    Unlike the familiar tropes Muslims and Arabs are confined to in the media, Mo seems to reject the common Islamophobic plotlines we have become used to.

    I would compare Mo’s character to other Muslim characters in the media depicted as terrorists or victims of oppression. For example, in Netflix’s teenage drama Elite, one of the Muslim characters takes off her hijab to “liberate” herself from her religion. However, Mo refuses to distance himself from his religious and national identity. 

    We have grown tired of two-dimensional and misrepresented Muslim and Arab characters. 

    We must recognize that the issue with such limited representation of Palestinians in the media is that it has granted the power to the straight male diaspora to be the voice of Palestine.

    The amount of screen time our communities get is what provides us our voice and platform, although we must be wary of who exactly is the face of that platform.

    This leaves room for misrepresentation or misinformation. For example, Mo comments on the borders set in Palestine in 1967 after the Six-Day War.

    He says, “I’d be really happy if we’d go back to 1967 borders.” This neglects the reality of Palestinians living in Palestinian territory in 1948. He refers to a time when Palestine was still actively under occupation, and Palestinians were being displaced from their homes.

    It was refreshing to watch someone who speaks, eats, and prays the way I did growing up, and who carried a bottle of olive oil with him in an effort to hold onto his roots. It stressed the simplicity of taking our home with us no matter where we are.

    I think we can agree that Mo is a face of Palestine, but definitely not the only one. The next step is a less Hollywood-washed, Westernized face of Palestine. One that acknowledges the struggle of Palestinians in Palestine and represents women, queer people, and stateless individuals who identify as Palestinian. Soon we will all be carrying our metaphorical bottle of olive oil everywhere we go.

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