The well-known writer and educator Karen Lee Wald was speaking to the Nova Scotia-Cuba Association and others who had gathered. A bespectacled, slim gentleman in a navy blue suit sat on the edge of a couch and asked probing questions on the difficulties faced by the Cuban people in defense of their revolution.
The day before the same gentleman, Dr. Ismail Zayid, a retired Dalhousie University professor of pathology, was championing justice for the peoples of the First Nations.
The day before that Zayid had spoken passionately about the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist expropriation of their homeland. Zayid, an authority on the Palestinian struggle, is an indefatigable advocate of Palestinian rights. Zayid’s hometown is Beit Nuba, which lies within the Latrun Salient, a finger of land that protrudes from the West Bank severing a direct Israeli route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The villages of Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba in the Latrun Salient were ethnically cleansed and obliterated by Zionist forces on orders by Gen. Yitzhak Rabin early in the June 1967 war. Over 10,000 people were made refugees. (1)
The Israeli journalist Amos Kenan captured the cruelty of the Zionists to the hungry, thirsty, and weary Palestinians with their crying children.
Some of our soldiers starting crying too. We went to fetch the Arabs some water. We stopped a car with a major, two captains and a woman … We asked the officers why these refugees were sent from one place to another and driven out of everywhere. They told us that this was good for them, they should go. ‘Moreover’, said the officers, ‘what do we care about Arabs anyway?’ (2)
Another cruelty was to befall Zayid when he learned that the government of Canada was complicit in the war crimes committed in the Latrun Salient. Today on the razed Palestinian villages are picnic sites for Israelis within what is ashamedly designated Canada Park. The Canadian Jewish National Fund (JNF) had raised $15 million in tax-deductible donations from Canadian Jewish communities to this abomination. Prominent Canadian politicians paid homage to a JNF official for his “humanitarian work” toward Canada Park. (3)
Said Zayid, “I was mortified that political leaders in my new country, Canada, would consider the erection of recreation centers on the site of ruins of criminally-demolished peaceful villages, illegally occupied, as a humanitarian act.” (4)
The government of Canada has yet to come clean on the infamous park that ignominiously bears the nation’s name.
Zayid will never give up on justice for Palestinians. But neither will he give up on justice for all oppressed peoples. Zayid realizes that the victims of imperialism worldwide are linked in common cause. To fight the imperialists separately is a futile cause. Together, however, the weak gain strength. So long as one is oppressed none are free. The key to the liberation of oppressed peoples is solidarity.
is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at:
(2) Quoted in Ibid
Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen
* The Progressive Paradox: Defining Viability
* The Shame
* The Wrong Direction
* The Pornography of War
Fairy Tale of Liberation