Sunday, April 12, 2009

would somebody please get this man a new job?

this week yorku president mamdouh shoukri proved, for what seems to be the millionth time, that he is absolutely incapable of even taking superficial steps towards pretending to be a university president.

on april 6, 2009 two students decided to be all like 'hey, we don't like what this paper publishes' and proceed to remove and throw into the garabage over ONE THOUSAND copies of the newest YU Free Press issue.

this kind of thing happens all of the time at york, but what doesn't happen all of the time is the paper-trashing culprits being caught on video and identified.

clip# 1:

clip # 2:

clip# 3:

the two dudes in the video are aaron rosenberg and mark(mo) levin, two york university students who are also members of the campus based israel advocacy group hasbara fellowships.
the two, after having been caught, said that they had every right to destroy the paper because the YU Free Press publishes "views, opinions, and in this particular instance cartoon images that are "anti-semitic" in nature."

the cartoons in question were described by Levin: “There was an image there of what appeared to be a Gazan dressed up in [the] Holocaust pyjamas that [were] worn by the six million Jews that were murdered behind a barbed wire fence lying down, being killed,” Levin said. “There was another image in there, in the letters [spelling out the word Gaza] what appeared to be Gestapo shooting at Gazans while America and [Arabs] watched.”(1)

the cartoons were drawn by brazilian artist carlos latuff and, according to editorial collective member Ali Mustafa, "the images were provocative, and were intended to promote free speech. The images in question were drawn by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, who was interviewed by Mustafa in the March-April 2009 edition of the YU Free Press."(2)

so, instead of letting students at yorku read the cartoons and the accompanying interview and make up their minds about the content, these two guys decided that they would not only deny their fellow students this right but also deny the right to freedom of speech to the writers at the YU Free Press and to carlos latuff.

according to a YU Free Press release yesterday:
"The overall purpose of the YU Free Press since its inception has been to confront the glaring lack of media diversity on campus and, in doing so, provide a fundamental space for critical analysis and commentary of the news around us to a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff alike under an explicit social justice mandate – an effort that is fatally undermined when particular views that may be disagreeable to some of us are forcibly suppressed and debate about them effectively shut down."

speaking to the distinct political climate in which these actions are occuring, the press release continues:

"It is no coincidence that these actions have occured in the wake of banned Israeli Apartheid Week posters, denied entry into Canada of British member of parliament and longtime Palestine advocate George Galloway, and revoked funding for essential services to new Canadian immigrants from the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) simply because its president dared to criticize Israel during its latest military offensive in Gaza. Only within the wider context of these separate but not unrelated events can this latest affront to free speech rights in Canada and on our campuses be understood and seriously challenged."

president shoukri should immediately hold rosenberg and levin accountable. despite their reasoning, they had absolutely no right to destroy those papers so that students would be unable to read it.

the YU Free Press is asking that people email shoukri( and cc their letters to them( and they've even written a sample letter to make it easy:

sample letter:

President Shoukri,

I am outraged to learn that the latest issue of the YU Free Press, an alternative monthly newspaper at York, has been systematically emptied from its racks and thrown in the garbage by two individuals (students Aaron Rosenberg and Mo Levin) simply because they disagree with its subject matter or decided editorial slant. As President of York it is your responsibility to ensure that our campus upholds the fundamental principles of free speech and legitimate dissent, even regarding those views that you personally may happen to find objectionable and of a controversial nature. I urge you to do everything within the authority of your office to hold these two individuals accountable for their actions and ensure that meaningful measures are both implemented and enforced such that intolerance of this kind does not occur again without appropriate punishment. Please let me know what you are doing or plan to do in the immediate future to address these concerns. I hope to hear from you soon.



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