Canadian Women Rally For Palestine In Montreal
by Yahya Abdul Rahman
Montreal, June 1, 2002 (IAP News): On Friday May 31st, about 150 women
from various backgrounds rallied in downtown Montreal in a display of
solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Under the banner of One Humanity, One Struggle, the demonstrators gathered
outside the campus of Concordia University and called for the end of the
occupation of Palestinian land and said No to state terrorism against
women and the children in Palestine.
"This rally has two main objectives," said Fehmida Khan of the Montreal
Chapter of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, "which is to call for the
end of the occupation of Palestine and place pressure on the Canadian
government to work towards that goal."
The initial plan was to march to Complexe Guy Favreau, the main office for
the Canadian government in Montreal, but due to heavy rains the
demonstrators remained at the campus for the duration of the rally.
In a press release announcing the event, the organizers condemned "all the
crimes and humiliation being committed against the women, children and
people of Palestine; Zionist state terror, the massacre and killing of
thousands of human beings; the criminal activity of Israeli troops who,
day after day, are destroying the Palestinian infrastructure, schools,
houses, hospitals, installations providing drinking water, the natural and
social environment, thereby imposing inhumane conditions of survival."
"This has led to the negation of human rights, the right to education,
health care, the right to live in peace, the right of the Palestinian
people to self-determination," the press release further read.
Samira Hussain, one of the demonstrators, stated that "it is important to
convey a message of unity in this event, and that it is crucial that women
get out and speak for the cause of Palestine."
"The Canadian government should take a stronger stance against the
occupation and recognize the atrocities being committed against the
Palestinian people," stated Hussain.
The organizers called on the Canadian government to: "(1) adopt a
principled position in support of the Palestinian people to end the
occupation. The government cannot remain silent, conciliate and be an
accomplice to State terrorism, they stated; (2) impose economic sanctions
against Israel; (3) break diplomatic relations with Israel; and (4)
declare Israel a terrorist State."
In addition, they demanded that the U.S. immediately stop financing Israel
and its war machine, which is being used day after day by Israeli troops
against the Palestinian people, and furthermore demanded the application
of UN resolutions affirming the right to self-determination of the
Palestinian people, their own state and the immediate and unconditional
withdrawal of Israeli occupation troops from Palestinian territories.
They further affirmed their full support to "the heroic struggle of the
"Israel should be isolated and pressure must be placed on the Canadian
government to end the occupation," said Christine Dandenault, of the
Montreal Womens Forum.
"Our government is speaking in our name, but Israel should be called a
terrorist state as genocide is genocide and it is completely
unacceptable," continued Dandenault.
Khan further stated that "women are the worst effected in global
struggles, and it is high time we rallied together, and that women do play
a vital role, such as producing children and being the supporters and the
backbone of the struggle."
"Their voices are being ignored and it is shameful," Khan stated
Hussain echoed similar sentiments when she said that "women in many
societies are thrown on the backburner even though they are a source of
great emotional and spiritual power."
"Women are marginalized and there are not very many strong womens voices
in the Palestinian movement even though they are the ones who feel most
the impact of the terrorism being committed and have to shoulder the brunt
of family responsibilities in taking care of everyone," Hussain continued.
Farida ElAtrash, a local Palestinian activist, also reaffirmed that the
central message of the rally was to "end the occupation of Palestinian
land, and to work hard to make the Canadian government stop the massacres
of the Palestinian people, stop the ongoing destruction of the
infrastructure of Palestinian society and recognize the basic human rights
of the Palestinian people."
"The Palestinian people have the right to defends themselves," stated
ElAtrash. "The Zionists want all of Palestine for themselves and nothing
for the Palestinian people, and this is unfair," she said.
The rally was organized by a collection of womens groups including the
Women's Muslim Centre, Canadian Council of Muslim Women / Montreal
Chapter, Canadian Council of Muslim Women / West Island Chapter, Muslim
Women of Quebec, Association of Muslim Women Vitality, Montreal Women`s
Forum, Al Hidaya Association, and many others.
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