The UW Chevron

online version of uwaterloo's independent press

Category: Issue 2

Harper and Israel

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in regards to Prime Minister Harper’s planned visit to state of Israel. As a proud Canadian citizen I do not wish our country and its elected representatives to be associated with a state that enforces and executes oppressive, racist and terrorism-based laws onto its residents and surrounding countries. As such, I believe that visiting Israel implies our complicity with its acts and policies.

Its main policies of interest are based on the fact that it is meant to be a Jewish state despite being founded in an area that is comprised that is largely Muslims and Christians. Since 1948, the borders of Israel have increased from 20% of Palestinian land to approximately 70% of Palestine. This process is similar to Hitler’s policies [Editor’s note: lebensraum] of founding a Greater Germany before the Second World War. Similarly, this has included the removal and internal displacement of millions of Palestinians from their homes and the murder of countless thousands. Even today, Israel continues to build settlements in designated Palestinian territories illustrating their complete lack of desire for a peaceful solution. Second, its oppressive policies are acted out on Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank through the siege of Gaza and the apartheid wall. The combination of these two has prevented many families from accessing a livelihood, thereby forcing them into abject poverty. Furthermore, countless preventable deaths have occurred both at the checkpoints and because of the inability to access basic necessary healthcare – healthcare which is inaccessible in Gaza due to the complete standstill caused by the siege. Finally, the prosecution and harassment of any non-Jewish residents within the borders of Israel (including Ethiopians, Christian Arabs, and Muslim Arabs) and its support from leading Israeli politicians only goes further to illustrate the racist and bigoted nature of the state.

This, of course, does not take into account the daily murders, violence, and assault that the Palestinians must endure at the hands of both settlers and the Israeli Defense Forces. I urge you to speak out against the planned trip to Israel and our government’s support of the terrorist entity that is Israel.

A concerned Canadian citizen.

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Bus Pass Referendum

Author: Aidan Coward

As part of the coming Feds elections, a referendum regarding the continuation of the university-wide bus pass through Grand River Transit (GRT) will be in progress. It was prompted by an increase in the cost of the bus pass, already significantly less expensive for students than if bought individually and even cheaper than if standard fares were paid. By cancelling the contract, GRT will not have the resources to justify the current coverage around the university and would likely provide lower-quality service to the student community, an obvious disadvantage. If the bus pass is cancelled, either students will have to pay more for less service from the GRT, or arrange their own transportation to and from campus. Currently, the bus pass is an excellent service and should not be taken lightly.

Academics Against Mass Surveillance

Author: Cosmin Dzsurdzsa

Recent leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden implicated the Canadian government in questionable surveillance methods and NSA co-operation, both during the G8 and G20 summits. These classified documents reveal an appeasing attitude towards NSA operations and “close co-ordination with Canadian partners”, more particularly the Communication Security Establishment Canada (the same CSEC who has access to CSIS, which has a history of recruiting on this campus). Now, one might think that such revelations would spark public outcry or protest, yet the crickets keep chirping and the government remains silent.

It seems as though no local or national measures have been taken to show opposition to privacy infringement or questionable information gathering. Yet such surveillance methods are not only a danger to us, or North America as a whole, but they pose a significant threat to the larger international community.

Academics Against Mass Surveillance is an international petition formed by four individuals from the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam. Although petitions are often scoffed at, a declaration of opposition is a necessary component for any push towards a change in policy. At the time of writing this article, the petition had hundreds of signatories from academic institutions all over the world: Germany (81), Netherlands (70), the U.K. (55) and the U.S. (30). Canada wass shamed in comparison, with only 9 signatories (including two of our own, Associate Dean of Arts Robert W. Park and Professor Ian Goldberg).

As a person who values his privacy, I was interested in any efforts our own community at Waterloo might be putting forward to maintain security while browsing the net. Interestingly enough, the Computer Science Club is known to host a number of computer security and privacy events. While the petition is now closed due to having reached a certain number of participants, students can still always take the important step of building their own security with the help of workshops like these. Security should start at home.

Election blues

The Editorial Collective

It’s eating contest time again here at Waterloo. As usual, this means that around 10% of students will vote in the Feds eating contests, probably for a specific candidate who will then help to run the most important student organization on campus. At no point in this process will ordinary students have decision- making power over anything that happens in their own student union – as opposed to the Fall term’s Feds General Meeting, where students had an opportunity to vote directly on what they wanted. Luckily for us, there is another meeting in March. If you as a student want to change something about this institute of higher learning and about the Federation of Students, you can vote for a candidate to do it for you. But if you want to cut out the middleman and get it done yourself, vote in the GM. Let’s beat last term’s record and show our new Feds executives that this was not a fluke. Voting for somebody is no substitute for voting for something.