Standing in silence for solidarity with Gaza

Kingston Coalition for Gaza to hold candelight vigil at City Hall tomorrow night

A funeral march gathers in front of the UN Al-Fakhoura School as they prepare to bury their dead. The Jan. 7 bombing of the school left dozens dead.
A funeral march gathers in front of the UN Al-Fakhoura School as they prepare to bury their dead. The Jan. 7 bombing of the school left dozens dead.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo by Eva Barlett

Tomorrow, students, staff, faculty and members of the Kingston community will show their solidarity with Gaza during a silent candlelight vigil in front of City Hall.

The newly-formed Kingston Coalition for Gaza is organizing the vigil.

Dana Olwan, PhD ’09 and a member of the Kingston Coalition for Gaza, said the coalition is made up of Queen’s students, staff, faculty and members of the Kingston community who want to bring attention to the situation.

“They want to say that even though we’re miles apart, we feel that as citizens we have a responsibility towards the humanitarian crisis and towards interrupting the discourse that’s happening in Gaza,” she said.

Olwan said she hopes the vigil will attract the attention of city officials.

“We’re hoping the city realizes that this humanitarian crisis in Gaza worries and concerns citizens of Kingston and hopes it will attract a presence and bridge the gap between Queen’s and the Kingston community,” she said. “It’s not just Queen’s that’s concerned about this, Kingston as a whole are concerned as humanitarians.”

Olwan said she thinks it’s important for the Kingston Coalition for Gaza to voice their opposition to the killing of Palestinian civilians and the military attacks taking place.

“As concerned humans and citizens, we object to this military effort,” she said. “It’s important because people need to know Canada is also involved implicitly in this conflict. We need to showcase our objection to the Canadian government’s relation to this latest attack.”

Qutaiba Albluwi, PhD ’12, said holding a vigil is a way for Queen’s students and Kingston citizens to become involved from the other side of the world.

“Sometimes, we feel helpless and would like to raise awareness about this issue,” he said. “When it comes to human rights, our personal political opinions don’t matter. We want to find peace spread around and want to see children being protected.”

Khalid Abughoush, ArtSci ’09 and Sci ’11, said holding a vigil in a public space is an effective way to start a chain reaction of awareness, in hope of reaching more Canadians.

“This is one way to help the people there … by raising awareness and letting people know this is about peace and addressing the suffering of the people in that part of the world,” he said. “The more people know about this and the more people stand up means there may be less suffering there in the future.”

Abughoush said he and Albluwi now permanently reside in Canada, but are both originally from the West Bank.

“We are from Palestinian origins and we do care about the people there, but on the larger scale it’s about addressing the problem going on there on the humanitarian level,” he said. “My uncle tried to go there, but it was really horrible. It’s not a place to stay permanently.”

The Kingston Coalition for Gaza’s silent candlelight vigil will take place on Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. at Kingston City Hall. For photos of the vigil, see Friday’s paper.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.