Sackville protest calls for ceasefire in Gaza & an end to Canada’s support for Israeli war crimes

Rally organizer Sarah Kardash addresses protesters in Bill Johnstone park.

About 250 protesters took part in a peaceful march and rally in Sackville today to call for an immediate ceasefire as Israel continued its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Sarah Kardash, one of rally’s main organizers, called on Canada to end its support for the Israeli assault on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

“Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ramping up violence against Palestinians in the West Bank,” she told people who had gathered in Bill Johnstone park.

“We oppose and condemn the war crimes committed by Israel with impunity and in clear violation of international law in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. There is no justification for what Israel is doing or for the Canadian government’s support for it.”

Kardash went on to list the dead and injured in the war that Israel launched after Palestinian gunmen killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel on October 7th and took more than 240 hostages:

Mohamed Ali of Citizens for Peace

Mohamed Ali, founder of the Moncton group Citizens for Peace, thanked people for attending the rally to “stand for peace, for justice and for humanity.”

As he began to read his speech from his cellphone, he said it hadn’t been an easy one to write.

“I feel a lot of pain and a lot of sorrow in my heart,” he said.

“My heart is burning watching all these images of suffering,” he added as he called for people to join hands in a moment of silence for “all of the victims in Gaza.”

After 20 seconds of silence, Ali said the powerful Israeli army was continuing its merciless massacre in Gaza.

“They have continued to commit war crimes for 40 days now,” he said, “with the discreet but real support of our government and history will remember this shameful, this shameful, position of our country.”

Ali said that although “the path of peace and justice is much harder than the path of war,” people will never give up on it.

“We will continue to fight for a better and peaceful future, for our children, for Palestinian children, for Israeli children, for all children around the world.”

He ended with chants that the rally goers echoed back to him:

“We want peace, we want justice, we want freedom for Palestine, free, free, Palestine.”

Rallygoers marching to Convocation Hall at Mt. A.

Later, the protesters began what organizers called a “march of complicity” with their first stop at Mount Allison University’s Convocation Hall on York Street where they heard Politics and International Relations Professor Lara Khattab speak about Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.

“Despite the fact that Palestinians are dispossessed violently from their land [and] they’re brutally killed with impunity, Palestinians continue to resist by various means and they continue to inspire us with their commitment to tell their stories, to document Israel’s war crimes and to claim their land back and their right to return to their homeland,” she said.

Khattab added that one form of resistance includes the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and she quoted words from its website:

“The call for boycott is a call to put pressure on Israel to comply with international law, to end the illegal occupation of Palestine, to end all forms of racial discrimination and to stop denying the right to return for Palestinian refugees. It’s a movement for justice, for equality and for freedom.”

Khattab praised her union, the Mount Allison Faculty Association, for its recent statement demanding that the federal government call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, end all forms of Canadian military and financial aid, including arms sales to Israel, and pressure Israel to end its illegal blockade of Gaza.

She noted, however, that the university administration did not condemn Israel’s massive violence and had not called for a ceasefire.

An e-mail from Mt. A. Acting President Robert MacKinnon to students, faculty and staff on October 11 said: “Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the ongoing violence and loss of life in Israel and Palestine” before it referred to counselling support available to anyone “impacted by this news.”

(A rally organizer pointed out that, in contrast, the university had issued a strong statement last year praising the Ukrainian people for their resistance to Russia’s invasion.)

Glenn Barrington on the steps of Scotiabank with rally organizer Simone Schmidt

“I’m a Scotiabank member, I’ll admit it right out of the gate,” said Glenn Barrington after the protesters had marched from the Mt. A. campus to the bank’s branch on Bridge Street.

“It’s a complicated world,” he added.

“But I can say that Scotiabank is one of, is the biggest bank contributor to Israeli arms production and Israeli real estate and organizations and corporations that will profit directly off of the genocide of the Palestinian people,” he said before going on to explain that the bank has a large investment in Elbit Systems, a weapons manufacturer that supplies the Israeli military.

“If you’re a member of Scotiabank, maybe it’s now the time to get your bank card out of Scotiabank,” he said.

Barrington led the protesters in the chant, “Free, Free Palestine,” before they headed up to Main Street for a rally outside Jean Coutu where organizers pointed out that the pharmacy sells SodaStream, the home fizzy water machine manufactured in Israel.

The company is on the BDS list of companies to boycott partly because of its treatment of Palestinian workers.

Next, the marchers headed to Sackville’s Town Hall where poet Marilyn Lerch promised to organize a resolution for Tantramar Council to pass calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Marchers congregate outside Town Hall

This entry was posted in Mount Allison University, Town of Tantramar and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Sackville protest calls for ceasefire in Gaza & an end to Canada’s support for Israeli war crimes

  1. Marika says:

    Perhaps this fine crowd would like to tell us what they think that the Israelis should do when 1200 of their citizens get murdered in a barbaric manner?

    Strangely, they seem to forget to mention this. Because there was a ceasefire until Oct 7. That ceasefire ended when Hamas went on a murderous rampage. That’s what got this whole thing started, and that’s where the blame goes.

    You know what really needs to happen? Gaza needs to be liberated from Hamas.

    I wonder if they’d be calling for a ceasefire if Israel were losing. Somehow, I suspect not.

    • Tristan says:

      Marika, did you miss the part about the 6000 innocent dead palestinian children? Because it seems that part went right over your head.

    • Tristan says:

      also, you mention there was a ceasefire prior to Oct 7th. Do you have a source on this? Because israel had attacked the west bank in August killing 70 Palestinian children – there’s no hamas in the west bank.

      • Ken says:

        There is definitely Hamas in the West Bank. Hamas is solely responsible. Protests like these should be calling for Hamas and the like to stop using civilians as human shields.

  2. Carol says:

    Dear Bruce Wark,
    Thank you for covering difficult and complicated news stories. May we all be encouraged to take the time to read the fine print beyond the headlines and be more critical users of social media.

  3. Janet Hammock says:

    I am glad that the folks who attended the gathering at the Bandstand heard my contribution — an introduction to the 32-year old Palestinian poet Hiba Abu Nada — her own words, written just hours before she was killed in her Gaza home during an Israeli attack on October 20th. I also read a deeply moving poem by Nada, written 10 days before her death. The last of three speakers at the bandstand, I was grateful that many told me that her poem “I grant you refuge…” brought tears to their eyes. It is not mentioned here, an unintended omission, surely. I write this comment only because this poem, in its utter simplicity, passion, and love, written by a young woman senselessly slaughtered, makes the unbearable and horrific statistics of Sarah Kardash’s speech very real to us. This is why poetry matters, and why poetry speaks to us so poignantly as we try to let into our hearts the atrocity of this war. The beauty of Nadia’s poem changed forever those who listened deeply.

  4. Jon says:

    The protesters’ claims to moral high ground would be more convincing if they were as vocal in condemning October’s Palestinian atrocities as they were in condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

    • Tristan says:

      That’s like saying “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter”.

      I know you’re smart enough to know the difference.

      • Marika says:

        There seem to be some people on here who are of the impression that Israeli lives don’t matter, is the point.

  5. Tristan says:

    Pack your bags Marika, my god said your house is my holy land and I’m moving in.

    • Marika says:

      You’re probably living on land that was historically someone else’s, Tristan.
      If you want to play that game, the Israelis probably have much better “claim” than you do in that respect, though I think that going back to ancient history is rather stupid.

      Regardless, does it make it acceptable to engage in genocidal violence against you? That’s not only what Hamas WOULD do. It’s also what Hamas actually DID.

  6. Tristan says:

    Why do people love to ignore israel’s war crimes?

    It’s a shame to see people who aren’t even jewish support israel when there’s millions of jewish people, rabbis, experts, scholars who denounce israel every single day.

    The privileged comments here are astounding. When was the last time someone stole your house and property because their god “said so”? Wow. you folks are something else.

    • Marika says:

      Because Israel actually has a tendency to prosecute the few war criminals that they actually do have.

      Because the worst of these are nowhere near the magnitude of the rest of the region. Start with Hamas, for an obvious example.

      I’ve never heard you care about the real war crimes of the Syrian regime, of Hezbollah, of Hamas, of ISIS, of the Ethiopian regime, of the Chinese Beijing regime, of North Korea, etc, etc. What’s so special about minor slip-ups of the Israelis that are nowhere near this order of magnitude? Why do they get special treatment?

      • Tristan says:

        Minor slip ups? hahahahahah Marika you’re so lost, along with pretty well every other boomer who totes the same line as you. What a privileged comment. You want to hear something fresh and new? Listen to what the Irish have to say. They don’t come from a place of privilege like yourself.

        When are you guys going to get out of the way for us younger people? Climate change? No. Humanity? No. Equality? No. Ending War? No. … .so tell, what do boomers do? other than get in the way..

      • Marika says:

        Replying to myself to add a comment to Tristan: I’m not a boomer. Missing around a decade for that. So given that your assumptions are so far off, why should I put any more truck in your “facts”.

    • S.A. Cunliffe says:


      “We would like to acknowledge that we are located on mikmak territory” Andrew Black, elected Mayor of Town of Tantramar, former Town Councillor of Town of Sackville New Brunswick.

      According to your logic our lands have already been reclaimed… hence the noisy “Land Back” movement accompanying this anti-colonial anti-Israel grassroots [?] operation.

      • Tristan says:

        Wow, imagine trying to justify dead innocent children with that line. Shame on you SA and all the other entitled boomers. I can’t wait for you to be out of our way.

      • S.A. Cunliffe says:

        Note to add here.. I am Gen X not a “boomer”. I also don’t want to see people living in scarcity, racial targetting, pain and suffering and wars… try harder Tristan to understand the bigger picture.. please.. I am focussed on the local politics because its the only place where we actually can influence / have a say.

  7. Wayne Feindel says:

    Human nature has been pretty consistent, and in my own life now in less than a hundred years it does seem that history repeats itself. I, I can’t believe this is Ground Hog Day replay of the human narrative for the world so soon.

    The jews can never win against Hamas. I reflected on James Surowiecki’s book the “wisdom of the crowd” . But our crowd seemed to have more data than NB has on the Covid epidemic. So I figured that we’ll never know for sure . One is too many on either side.
    I thought again about Thomas Sowell’s response to what jews themselves were to do to protect themselves. “Fail” was his reply. As long as they succeeded they would be hated” So despite The Jewish dysphoria and dispersion around the world hatred
    is reserved just for them. Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the sand dunes north of Jaffa. In 1948 the UN gave them more only sand and no oil. The richest people in the world surround Israel. Israel the only democracy in the middle east cannot afford to fail just to be loved.
    So in one of Lord Byron’s memorable works I found this.

    “The wild dove hath her nest,
    the fox his cove.
    mankind their country- Israel but the grave.
    So folks I’ve fallen back to the old adage, “You can’t fix stupid.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conclusion before killed by the Nazi is that STUPIDY is the greatest evil because THE CROWD -Gustave LE BON isn’t interested reasonable people. (simple explanation U Tube Sprouts School or After Skool for dummies like me.
    So Bonhoeffer’s observation is , “The jews are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.
    The problem is as the local “crowd” protesting might be non-believers (People of the Book) Dosn’t prevent them meeting the same fate Our own nature wields double edge swords the cautionary message from Star Wars. The Dark Vader (German Extraction) in all of us.
    This particular crowd threw around accusations of complicity as if it was ketchup.
    There are no Innocent people. War by its very nature is a criminal act . To dig the Nazis out of Ortona where there were no prepared tunnel defense’s . local boys “mouse holed “along with roughly 1300 civilian casualties.
    The liberation of Normandy and Holland the civilian casualties is estimated to have been over 350 000. Yet, they welcomed us with open arms and put up individual memorials. Removing Hamas might be a relief for the human shields. Meanwhile, just as a reminder there are 6.6 million in refugee camps that are dying of malnutrition from wars between the Middle East States. No one is rushing to take them home. Arabs killing Arabs and Jews Dosn’t make news, but Jews killing Arabs even in a existential crises are deemed inherently responsible for not committing mass suicide. (MASADA) Meanwhile Putin is watching……..

  8. Elaine says:

    This is one of those instances when both sides certainly are to blame for the failures of the situation they are in.

    The list of crimes committed by Hamas and the Israeli Right Wing Government are long.

    The mistake people make is focusing on just one of those groups. When you focus on Israel’s War Crimes, you come across as being ignorant of or supportive of Hamas. When you focus on Hamas, you omit the obvious war crimes of Israel.

    And then there are those who actually live there, who see this all and they, themselves, blame Hamas and Israel’s Government for this insanity. Perhaps we – in the west – should listen to THEM more than the religious pundits who are salivating for this (the extremist Christians who see this as the sign of their version of God returning) or to the ignorant who hold bigotry in their hearts for Arab, Jew or both.

    This ‘conflict’ has gone on so long it no longer matters who started it, or who did what to whom. It’s not even about who “owned” the land originally, or who historically came from it or whatever other claims there are.

    It is about bloodshed, it is about revenge, it is about power. That’s it, that’s all.

    The only way there will be peace in the region, is when the people of both sides rise up as one and kick their leaders into the bomb pits they created, or the entire region is turned into a wasteland that no one will want.

Leave a Reply