If I were to hold a Mexican American awareness week or a week which sought to elevate the discourse on Australian Aborigines, I highly doubt that the event would generate too much controversy or backlash. However, why is it that with the MSA attempting to host a Palestinian Awareness Week we have come under so much fire from opposing groups?
I find it interesting that the P.A.W. has raised such hatred preceding the coming events. The week, meant to educate Cal Poly on the culture of the Palestinian people, has apparently offended many with the very notion of raising awareness that such a group even exists. Why is this?
In Thursday’s edition of the Mustang Daily, Ben Goodman used the topic of the week to let loose a tirade of Pro-Israeli rhetoric, from Anti-Palestinian propaganda (“Yes you should be aware of the Palestinian leaders and the terrorists-“) to outright errors (such as the Islamic Brotherhood being responsible for the Assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.) Why is it that the issue of the Palestinian People can not be addressed without the religion of Islam or the Arab race coming under attack? Are the Palestinians to bare the brunt of the errors of every group connected in any way to them?
I also understand that the issue is not one which can be divorced from politics. For any serious discussion of Palestine in the 20th century to take place, one can not help but enter into a world of issues and politics embroiled in controversy. However, at the heart of the upcoming week of events is the display of a vibrant and amazing culture. From a movie night in which a film from the region is to be shown, to a night of festivities involving food, costumes and much more. However the attacking point from the opposition seems to be to the speaker Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who in the past has mentioned opposition to the dividing wall in Israel used to keep out terrorists. What is usually not mentioned is that Hillel last quarter brought a speaker, a journalist from the Jerusalem Post, who himself at his lecture openly opposed the barrier. Something tells me not one person attacked him for being anti-semitic …
At the very center of the issue, something interesting is going on. Somehow the very idea that a Palestinian people exists rubs many Pro-Israel pundits the wrong way. Golda Meier, widely revered today by most Israeli’s as one of the greatest prime ministers of Israel, once claimed openly “There is no such thing as a Palestinian People.”
The real irony, is this effort to erase from the face of the earth an entire ethnicity is mirrored earlier in the 20th century by another group of tyrannical fascists, but not with the Palestinians in the crosshairs but Jews themselves.
This is why we dedicate ourselves to the education and display of a dying culture currently under attack from all sides. It is the very fate of an entire people which lie in the balance. Whether they are delivered justly or forever lost to history depends on the success of the events such as the P.A.W., and when seen in this light there is little mystery left in why it is so vehemently opposed by groups who have much to gain from the eradication of this ethnicity.
Saleem Azad is an architecture junior and Mustang Daily guest columnist