Survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon came together to condemn online meeting platform Zoom for cancelling a session which was set to include Palestinian resistance fighter Leila Khaled last month.
In a statement released to mark Indigenous People’s Day today, the group wrote: “We, the undersigned, are astonished and appalled by the abrupt cancellation by Zoom, Facebook and YouTube of Open classroom webinar, “Whose Narrative? Gender, Justice and Resistance.”
“We are fully aware of the political pressures placed on the media giants and the university objecting to one of the invited speakers, Ms Leila Khaled, who was imprisoned for her role in the TWA Flight 840 hijacking in 1969, and one of the four simultaneous Dawson’s Field hijackings the following year.”
“Leila Khaled is an icon of feminism and liberation,” they continued. “She has never killed anyone – not even in the hijackings. Her request was that the pilot should fly the plane over Haifa, for her to see the place where she was born and to which she was never allowed to return since she and her family were displaced along, with almost 750,000 Palestinians. As a refugee, she wanted so much to see her ancestral home.”
Signed by Dr Swee Ang, who also experienced Israel brutal attack on the Freedom Flotilla which was attempting to break the illegal siege on Gaza and deliver much needed aid to the strip in 2018, the statement concluded: “Neither Zoom nor [San Francisco State University] SFSU must be allowed to block the voices of people suffering gross injustices from being heard. Shutting down free speech is a crime against justice.”
“We demand that Zoom reverse its censorship of the webinar as soon as possible so as not to rob people from all over the world from hearing from the voices of these icons of liberation and struggle for justice, freedom and equality.”