Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The Power of Place" on CKUT Radio's Caravan

I had the pleasure of being invited to speak on CKUT's radio program "Caravan", which is a show focusing on community news for Arabs and Muslims in Montreal. I was interviewed by the extremely talented and amazing Rana Alrabi, and we talked about the importance of place for Palestinians, what it means to be a (neutral?) researcher tackling difficult issues, and how research serves as a tool to empower marginalized communities and demystify "the other". Take a listen here, just click on today's date (23 February 2011). I speak from around 33:00-53:00. Please let me know what you think.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Montreal Dialogue Group

This evening, I presented my research to the Montreal Dialogue Group at the Westmount Y. The Montreal Dialogue Group is a group of individuals from all walks of life who come together to promote dialogue about issues related to Israel and Palestine. The MDG's promotional materials state: "From it's beginnings, the Dialogue Group has aimed to provide a space for personal story and exchange between individuals rather than for politics and official position-taking." This approach was extremely refreshing to me, and I found my presentation to be received with an open-mindedness and curiosity that is necessary for quality dialogue.

The MDG is a model for open communication and the sharing of ideas. It was a pleasure to spend time with such a positive group of people that seeks to increase their knowledge about the situation in Israel and Palestine, and ultimately contribute to ideas about how to work towards a solution to ending the conflict that wreaks that region.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What About Egypt's Children?

While watching the revolution sweep across north Africa, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Where are the children, what is their role in these historical events, and how are they being affected?" A quick Google search using the words Egypt and children led me to Robert Fisk's article in The Independent, describing how children have been treated under Mubarak's regime, and their role in the current revolution.

Fisk's article focuses on Egypt's 50,000 street children, though not surprisingly government statistics put the number at around 5,000. Interviews with children on February 12th revealed that "Mubarak supporters deliberately brought children to the outskirts of Tahrir Square to throw stones at the pro-democracy supporters, how they persuaded penniless street children to participate in their pro-Mubarak marches." Saida Zeinab, an Egyptian doctor, stated: "They were told it was their duty - a national patriotic act - to throw stones at the demonstrators, to do violent actions." Children were hit with rubber bullets, and at least 12 were taken to hospital with wounds from police weapons. Several children were shot dead.

On the other hand, children also had a role in positive community-building activities, with UNICEF reporting that people of all ages (including children) formed citizens' groups in order to protect their neighborhoods until the armed forces could establish order.