ODVV Interview: About the recent students protests in western countries

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Publish Date : 05/15/2024 13:02
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Israel is a settler colonial regime that operates to advance American interests in the region so that the US can control the people of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and even China’s power. This genocide is taking place in the service of American interests to maintain American hegemony in the region and prevent people’s rights to self-determination.

Following widespread student protests in Western countries, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence conducted an online interview with Charlotte Kates, a Canadian human rights activist on 14 May 2024. She has been a foreign coordinator of the Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, a non-governmental organization, which has been active in support of Palestine in recent years and during the ongoing protests in Western countries, joining other like-minded organizations.
She has been attending and speaking in the ongoing protests in Western countries; to the extent that she herself has not been spared from the harmful anti-human rights actions of Western countries and after making statements in defense of Palestine resistance, she got arrested on charges related to the spread of hatred, and subsequently banned from participating in protests and assemblies until October of this year.
This report offers a summary of the interview of the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence with the human rights activist, emphasizing the important points raised by her.

Q: You personally witnessed these student protests and spoke in support of Palestine and were arrested, what do you think was the motivation behind the widespread students' protest?
What is happening in Gaza is genocide, the US, Canada, France, and Germany fully support it and are partners in it. Students witness the effects of support for Israel and the shipment of weapons for use in the massacre of the people of Gaza; what students now witness in universities is, the financial support of military and security institutions and arms manufacturing companies from universities and the reciprocal investment of universities in companies that manufacture and send weapons to Israel, and if anyone is to take action against the massacre by Israel , there is no better place for students than the university. Recent events have revealed the true face of Israel and shown it to the people of Western countries; the students’ request is that this genocide should be stopped and the universities’ support for companies involved in the war against Gaza should be ended.

Q: Given the extent of the protests, do you think these students can be considered as representatives of all the people of Western countries?
It is hard to say this with certainty; because a very large volume of false information is disseminated among the people of Western countries and American officials bring up various excuses to justify this massacre. People in Western countries listen to the media and the media manipulates the facts, but the younger generation has more awareness on what the US and Israel are doing and does not remain silent about Israel’s actions and reveals the realities; for these reasons, students are suppressed and subjected to widespread assaults and the military and security regime takes over universities and control the university campuses.

Q: The US has always claimed to be a strong advocate for freedom of expression and now suppresses students for exercising this right. How do you assess this double standard?
Reactions to students reveal the hypocrisy and duplicity of Western countries. They are not interested in freedom of expression and democracy, but use these issues to harm countries that are not willing to put their resources and capital at the service of imperialism. There is no commitment to freedom of expression here; I have spoken in support of Palestine and believe that Palestine should be freed from the grip of the Zionist regime, Palestinian resistance is legal under international law, but I am not given the right to speak in defense of this country and I have been arrested for this reason. In other countries as well, a large number of pro- Palestine protesters have been arrested and including over 3000 people in American universities. The current behavior of Western countries in the face of protesters is similar to the same violations they have committed against the people of other countries and their resources.

Q: Why do you think Western countries neglect human values and international law in support of Israel?
Israel is a settler colonial regime that operates to advance American interests in the region so that the US can control the people of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and even China’s power. This genocide is taking place in the service of American interests to maintain American hegemony in the region and prevent people’s rights to self-determination. As Joe Biden admitted decades ago, if Israel did not exist, we would necessarily have to create it; for this reason, America is willing to take any necessary action to maintain its dominance and support this ongoing genocide, although sometimes verbally criticizes it.

Q: Do you think protests against Western countries’ policies in their full-scale support of Israel will have any impact on the major decision makers?
Based on what we have seen in history, one main reason of the perennial failure of imperialism, has always been the popular protests and resistances that have received international support; the experience of France in Algeria, America in Vietnam, and the apartheid regime in South Africa validate this claim; the colonial strategies of imperialist administrations have consistently stumbled when confronted with the precarious state of their own survival.; they are doomed to failure, and the front line against them are resistance groups fighting genocide.

Final Point: Finally, if you would like to add something to your words, we will be happy to listen to you.
Thank you for inviting me to this interview; now these protests have spread and even reached countries like Sweden. Now, the core of imperialism is witnessing these protests; ending genocide is the demand of protesting students. Despite the criminalization of protests, arrests, and suppression of students, people do not remain silent and protest against the situation in Palestine. The time has come for this massacre to end.

 

                                                Charlotte Kates

“ ODVV Interview: About the recent students protests in western countries ”