SJP: Our agenda, our raison d’etre
A sort of SJP mission statement written by Auckland SJP founder Zaeem Baksh. Feel free to disagree with it, it does not necessarily represent the view of others in SJP.
The people of Palestine, including young children are being murdered daily by the Israeli military and the Jewish squatters. The homes of the Palestinian families are bulldozed down in the middle of the night, and university buildings are destroyed. Palestinian families are routinely terrorised — their homes are occupied and their land confiscated. Apparently, we in New Zealand don’t seem to care beyond the newspaper headlines; thus we continue, regrettably, to remain ill informed, on a healthy diet of disinformation and sleek official propaganda.
Mass media here in New Zealand, by and large, either fail to give adequate coverage to the horrific plight and pain of the Palestinians, or misconstrue the tragic situation and the Resistance movement so as to `blame’ the victim. Consequently, university students and academics, administrators, politicians and the public remain in the dark — misinformed.
The depth of ignorance is distressing, and the continual frustration caused by racism (under the guise of Zionism), the indiscriminate murder by Israeli military of the children in Palestine led a small group of us at Auckland University to form ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ (SJP). We coincided the founding of SJP (14 May 2001) with a commemoration of Al-Naqba (The Catastrophe, 14 May 1948). The proverbial seed that was planted that day and that eventually sprouted into a frond that we now call SJP was the screening of the documentary film Journey to the Occupied Land. Armed with the writings of Professor Edward Said and others and by the remarkable resilience of the freedom fighters in Palestine, our student members are encouraged that expressions of support from a wide range of university clubs, students, staff and community members are growing.
SJP welcomes anyone who supports our aims and objectives. It is our aim to disseminate information, enlightening students and community members of the sufferings of the Palestinian people, of their struggles for liberation, whilst attempting to give voice to the Palestinian aspirations for Justice and Equality in Palestine. In this regard we aim to disseminate information on Palestine — the people, their history and their heroic struggles for freedom.
Students for Justice in Palestine also attempts to promote Palestinian culture in the form of literature, art, music and dance and cuisine.
SJP organizes educational and cultural events and engages in social activities from time to time to raise funds to achieve our aims and objectives. We have presented talks to schools in the Auckland area and plan to develop further relations with community organizations. SJP screens documentaries on the struggles of the Palestinians, their resistance against the colonialist oppressor. SJP invites speakers who support justice in Palestine and who promote the aspirations of the Palestinians — Liberty in the ancient Land of Palestine.
At the end of the day SJP wishes to see the triumph of the Palestinian people, in their struggles to control their own destiny in their homeland — Palestine. SJP is of the belief that resistance is the inalienable right of the people who are oppressed. And we in SJP, through our work, intend to have the student community (and others) recognise this fact. We believe that peace can only be achieved in Palestine (or anywhere) if JUSTICE is established first. This condition is an imperative. If there is no justice, there can never be any peace. Justice is the seed, and peace the frond, the flower, the fruit that sprout from that seed. We hold the view that oppression anywhere is oppression everywhere, and that the occupation of Palestine by the military of the Nazi-like Israeli government is intolerable and the confiscation of Palestinian land by the racist ‘Jewish squatters’ is reprehensible.
The Palestinian Resistance (Intifada) to Israeli oppression and racism, put in a universal context, is incisively articulated by Malcolm X:
Racism is a human problem and a crime that is absolutely so ghastly that a person who is fighting racism is well within his or her rights to fight against it by any means necessary.
We at SJP also intend to raise awareness among students by making available information regarding the United Nations Resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which require Israel’s government to end the occupation of Palestine and to cease confiscation of land.
Regarding the indigenous people of Palestine, next time you get confronted by racist supporters of Israel/Jewish government quote to them the following (from Ilene Beatty, Arab and the Jew in the Land of Canaan):
…who, then, has the legal right to Palestine? There is one people, almost unmentioned, ignored, and practically forgotten. But they must be named and considered, for they are the most important of all — the native Palestinians themselves. The Canaanites were first. And when we speak of Palestinians or of the Arab population, we bear in mind their Canaanite origin. We in Aoteoroa New Zealand recall with some pride our parents’ protests against the war in Vietnam, and with equal pride we remember our elder sisters and brothers who protested against the racist apartheid system in South Africa. Now it is our turn! — to protest against the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and the horrific carnage being committed by the racist government of Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine intends to build on our success and for the year 2006 intends to be more vigorously involved in educating and enlightening student communities, and thereby giving ‘voice’ to the aspirations of the Palestinian people. Already the seed we planted at Auckland University has sent roots to Auckland University of Technology, to Waikato University and to Wellington. Insha-allah other universities too will soon show signs of SJP germinating in their respective campus. We will do our best to plant SJP seeds there — your helping hand will assist.
Clearly, mass media here in New Zealand as else where, driven by greater profit margins, cannot be relied upon to speak for truth and justice. A student for Justice in Palestine is proud to wave its banner, proclaiming, “Justice is the seed, peace the flower”. Without justice, we believe, there can never be peace. Moreover, we ascribe to the principle:
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”.Let’s go do our duty!