Editor’s Note: A final say

Karen Savoy / Sputnik Photography
A person writing in a notebook.

Another school year comes to a close. The rain washes away the snow and greens the grass. You hear birds chirping outside your window, back from their trip down south, and the sun beams on your cheeks. Final exams and deadlines for term-long projects we’ve all been putting off are finally here. But as you begin to unwind from the stressful and busy year, it’s easy to wander off in your own bubble.

Instead, I urge you to stay connected, and not just with your friends, family and peers.

Overseas in Gaza, Al-Shifa hospital was known as the largest medical complex and central hospital in the area. Just a few days ago, Israeli forces destroyed the whole building in a two-week raid and left it in ruins. The Israeli military reported that 6,200 people sought shelter in the hospital, including multiple severely wounded patients being treated, as it was one of the few places left in northern Gaza with some access to water and electricity.

The director of the Gaza media office, Ismail Al-Thawabta, said Israeli forces murdered 400 Palestinians, including doctors, in and around the hospital. Gruesome photos have been circulating the internet showing mutilated and bulldozed dead bodies. [SA1] 

“This is a crime against humanity,” Al-Thawabta told CBC reporters.

An Israeli military spokesperson said the hospital was a major operating centre by Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups using underground tunnels, but doctors and Hamas deny any armed presence in the complex as well as other health facilities. News outlets like CNN visited the tunnels but couldn’t determine if they were being used as a command centre by Hamas. [SA2] 

Back in Toronto, protests erupted and at a recent demonstration over the weekend, multiple people were arrested then let go unconditionally. Attendees say police brutality took place. The incident started when the police charged a driver with stunt driving after some people were in the bed of his truck while it was in motion, which violates the Highway Traffic Act. The driver initially resisted and that’s when the situation became messy.

Salim Elewa, a person at the protest who was born in Gaza, said he was checking on a woman who was knocked over when police accused him of “swinging” at them. Elewa was beaten to the ground and when his hearing aid fell out of his ear due to the impact, he said an officer stepped on it and he felt them dig their knee into his stomach. Elewa was let go shortly after due to a lack of video evidence showing he attacked anyone in the first place.

When Elewa asked a police officer why he was turning his body camera off, he replied, “If I take off this uniform, I’ll beat the shit out of you.”

I’ve been told consistently throughout this year by family members to be careful with what I write about, to be cautious and to be indirect. If I must be direct, then I’m told not to be political or cause tension that could come back to bite me years down the line. But I am not an advocate or an activist — I am a journalist, and it’s my responsibility to report on what matters. Knowing what’s happening outside of your personal comfort zone is essential. Sharing the right facts is important. And the lives of people who are not actually too different from you or me are valuable, even if others make it seem like otherwise.

On a last note, I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to read, appreciate and enjoy the work our phenomenal team of writers, photographers and creatives put together to publish over the past eight months. The incredible support we receive is what keeps our student newspaper thriving.

Good luck with finals, have a lovely summer and to all the aspiring journalists out there — don’t put your pen down.

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 8 on Thursday, April 4.

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