Palestine and the Right to Education
The University of Manchester Students' Union is twinned with the Al-Najah National University in Nablus. Students in Palestine have had their right to education consistently denied by the Israeli Occupation: checkpoints, attacks on Universities and limitations on movement seriously hinder the ability of students in Palestine to learn. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the 'right to education': we fully support the struggle of our Palestinian brothers and sisters to realise this fundamental Human Right.
Currently, the Steve Biko building has only one plaque commomerating Steve Biko and his struggle against Apartheid. This second plaque will commomerate another struggle against another Apartheid.
The students union has finally succeeded in passing a motion recognising the continuing Israeli violations of Palestinians' right to education, and requesting a twinning with the AnNajah University in Nablus, and demanding that University of Manchester charges home fees to Palestinian students.
In 2005 we tried to establish a similar policy for the UMSU. Jewish groups at the university worked hard to stop us from presenting the motion, or changing its language. When this did not happen, The Jewish Society lobbied for people not to attend the meeting, therefor not allowing it to commence since we could not meet the quorum of 300 attendants.
I remember walking in, by mistake, into a room next to the general assembly meeting room. It was so intimidating to see all these zionists with IDF T-shirts assembling there resolved not to allow the meeting to commence by not entering the room, but at the same time, willing to enter if the meeting starts without their presence.
I am glad that this is possible now. For the comming three years, it is official policy of the Manchester University Students Union to Support Palestinian Education. But also, for the next three years, the students union will have to continuously vote against the motions which will be presented by the Jewish Society and other Pro-Israel groups to revoke this policy, starting in the next meeting of the General Assembly in November of this year. Good Luck UMSU!