Friday, April 6, 2007
No time for lessons during student elections
Dana Shalash writing from Birzeit University, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 6 April 2007
"My students are robots that come in different colors: green, white, and red. Each is representative of a political party: Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front, respectively.
Birzeit University's campus has been overly crowded for the last few days. Eyes from both on and off campus are on the Student Council Elections, which some believe will gauge the outcome of potential early parliamentary elections.
Only eight students -- two were guests -- showed up to Wednesday's class. The other ten not showing up is the norm; out of their moral and/or partisan obligations most students skip classes -- lessons can wait but elections cannot. So we chose to discuss politics rather than English.......
I eventually rose up and closed the door to contain their increasing clamor. Unbelievable! They are all blind to the purpose of such a council. But disrespect, yelling, pointing fingers, and blindness have all become indispensable characteristics of us Palestinians.
They are all in dire need of financial help and counseling services, but none of them thought that this is why this council exists, and that they should elect the suitable individual, rather than the political party, that is willing to support them in their academic pursuits. The aforementioned "students'" parties have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the electoral campaign -- flags, posters, and banners that colored every single spot on campus. The estimated costs are believed to have otherwise financed dozens of deprived Palestinian students' tuition.
Awareness is a key notion that our students lack. They are brainwashed with partisan mantras and slogans, and sadly they are unwilling to hear out the other at all or even accept the others' right to believe differently."