Who fears to speak of Palestine?

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | June 1, 2016 0

A British-Palestinian schoolgirl has been expelled from a public speaking competition after a video of her moving entry went viral last week. Leanne Mohamad, a 15-year-old student at Wanstead High School in London, won a regional final of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge with her speech ‘Birds not Bombs’, in which she describes the historical and contemporary reality for Palestinians under Israeli settler colonialism.

The Jack Petchey-sponsored competition is run by Speakers Trust, and bills itself as the world’s biggest youth speaking event. Responding to complaints by anti-Palestinian blogger Edgar Davidson, Speakers Trust CEO Julie Holness said that they took his “concerns very seriously”, and confirmed that Mohamad would not be sent through to the next stage of the contest, and “will not be speaking at the Grand Final.”

The decision to expel Mohamad, made by a Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation judging panel, was based on her breaching two rules: that “the speech must have a positive and uplifting message”, and that “a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others.” Holness offered to forward Davidson’s email to Mohamad’s school, and said the blogger was “welcome to use [my home office number] at any time.”

Responding to the news, Mohamad tweeted: “Why is it called a “Speak Out Challenge” when I am then silenced?” While Speakers Trust has removed the speech from their website and YouTube Channel, it has been re-uploaded here on The Skibbereen Eagle.

Davidson last year praised English Defence League-founder Tommy Robinson as “simply a British patriot.” His blog’s ‘Key Readings’ includes an article that states “Palestinians are a fake creation.” nakbagirl

Shame on the Jack Petchey Foundation and Speakers Trust (Motto: ” Speak & be heard”) for  this blatant and unprofessional attempt to censor a spirited and talented 15 year old making valid points based on historical fact and the legitimacy of International Law as expressed in 34 United Nations Resolutions. It seems the real Speak Out Challenge is to speak out on Palestine. The Skibbereen Eagle applauds Free Speech and the right of Leanne Mohamed to speak out. It has come to something when the clarion clear voice of a 15 year old schoolgirl can drown out the lobbying and influence peddling by the Likud settler extremists with no interest in peace who spend millions on propaganda to normalise their extremism in the eyes of the world.  We will keep our Eye on Leanne Mohamed for we suspect she will have the last word.

The Skibbereen Eagle

Latest posts by The Skibbereen Eagle (see all)

Comments are closed.