Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Edinburgh University students occupy George Square lecture theatre

On the morning of Wednesday 11th February Edinburgh University students occupied the George Square Lecture Theatre. We have acted against the university because of its financial and commercial links to the apartheid state of Israel, in addition to its unacceptable silence in response to the Gaza conflict, described by the UN President of the General Assemby, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, as “genocide”. We will sit-in until the heads of the university agree to the following demands…

Broadly, we demand that our university demonstrate what should be its inherent opposition, as an educational institution, to Israel’s illegal and shameful behaviours.

Specifically, to ensure the university publicly manifests its position, we demand…

1. BOYCOTT – That the university immediately suspend all contracts and relations with companies enabling the conflict and/or occupation, including Eden Springs. This demand is contingent on access to information to establish which other companies are implicated.
2. DIVESTMENT – That the university divest from and cut all links – specifically on-campus recruitment – with BAE Systems, QinetiQ and all other “arms and defence” manufacturers whose products are proven to be in use by the Israeli military.
3. SCHOLARSHIPS – That the university make full scholarships available to at least 5 students in Gaza, allowing them to attend Edinburgh University. This is a response to the destruction of their universities by the Israeli military, and to other barriers, physical and psychological, which restrict their right to education.
4. AID – That the university collect and make available non-monetary donations to war-damaged Gazan schools and hospitals, including but not limited to text-books, chairs, computers. 5. EDUCATION – That logistical and financial support are provided for a series of informative lectures and debates at Edinburgh, involving university staff and guest speakers, on the Palestine/Israel question during the academic year 2009/10.
6. STUDENT SIT-IN – Lastly, we demand that no legal, financial or academic measures be taken against those participating in, or supporting, a peaceful sit-in to ensure our calls are answered.

There will be rallies and other activities throughout the sit-in, both inside and outside the building. We will endeavour to hold talks and debates, show documentaries and create solidarity artwork. We aim to create an open space, allowing for the constructive and creative spread of awareness on the Gaza conflict and continued oppression of Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories. Come and see for yourselves!

In solidarity,

The occupying students of Edinburgh University

I find the news of this occupation rather heartening. First of all I find myself in agreement with all the aims of the students involved. Secondly, because the university, far from over-reacting, is engaging in dialogue. But most of all, the whole thing is just being so civilised. It's the first time I've heard of students occupying a building but allowing classes to carry on undisturbed around them.

And I was interested to read that one of the university staff who dropped by in support had taken part in the Berkeley University anti-Vietnam war protests. Kathy Jenkins is someone I know slightly because she organises health & safety conferences, so I must ask her about those days some time.

I'm not surprised that The Scotsman covered the story (very briefly on Thursday): not only is it on their doorstep, it's the latest in a wave of similar sit-ins at Scottish universities. I expected that the London papers might have a brief mention, what with student activism being a rare thing these days, but not a word. Nothing from the BBC of course: even BBC Scotland ignored the story totally. Funny, with them being so pro-Palestinian and never missing a chance to bash Israel and all that.....

The students' blog is here, and their Facebook group is here.


At 15 February, 2009 06:23, Blogger Jocelyn Lavin said...

You may have missed this. In Manchester the students are now in their 11th day of occupation, and it's similarly civilised.

At 15 February, 2009 06:24, Blogger Jocelyn Lavin said...

(oh, and there's also a Manchester occupation blog)

At 15 February, 2009 19:19, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Jocelyn!


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