Letter To The Calgary Herald

 

Calgary Herald (Leah Hennel)

Calgary Herald (Leah Hennel)

Dear Calgary Herald,

I was uncertain if your first article regarding the attack on the Pro-Israel supporters at the pro palestinian rally was an anomaly born out of ignorance or suggestive of actual bias. I was incredibly disturbed at the language you used in your first article, especially the rhetoric about “both sides,” while at the same time suggesting that a group consisting of 10 people would pick a fight with 600 and somehow were equally culpable for the attack.

You see,  I do not entirely blame the police – even though they didn’t effectively do their job which is keeping the peace – because they rightfully assumed that in Canada, people respect each others rights. I think that they dropped the ball but the final culpability in the end, goes directly on the people who committed the violence, not those who didn’t believe people would act like that in Canada.

Your initial report was absolutely ridiculous, you confer blame on the victims, suggesting that they were responsible for the actions of the people who attacked them. However you ignored key facts which showed your entire “report” to have been rather pathetic.

  1. The Pro Israel group was accosted almost immediately by the “peaceful” pro palestinan crowd who screamed at them and assaulted them (yes ripping someones possessions out of their hands is assault by the way IN CANADA). They didn’t even have time to incite anyone.
  2. The Pro Israel group has every right to walk unmolested on the streets in Canada wearing whatever they like. If you don’t believe me, Google ‘Charter of rights and freedoms.’ You are a Canadian, you should know better than to help erode those freedoms that were fought for and earned so dearly.
  3. Regarding 2 weeks ago, it was not a fight. It was an attack, conducted by a large group against a small group of people. The language you used not only marginalized what happened but was incredibly misleading. To suggest that there was in any way a moral equivalence is disgusting. A group of people viciously attacked a group of people, and instead of condemning it, you basically condoned it. We are extremely lucky that nobody was killed. You quoted Saina Jamal as saying that ” it was just 5 minutes of a 3 hour protest” and you gave her a platform to give her crocodile tears apology, yet you neglected to mention this gem of a quote from Saina, which was easily found a few hours after the attack: “bahahah they won’t be coming to any of our protests again any time soon.” Which sounds less remorseful than the quotes you chose to use. We refuse her apology, unless it includes the names of those who conducted the attack, which is something that we know they know. We saw several of the attackers last night.
  4. If you had bothered to do any real research, you would have known that the week before, I was there by myself, wearing an IDF T-shirt, a blue and white keffiyeh and carrying an Israeli flag. For most of the protest, I spoke quietly to some Muslim girls about indigenous rights and the conflict and history of the region, but near the end, several groups of younger men and some older ones came and started harassing me. At one point, one group swarmed me and tried to take my flag. I was not “inciting” anyone. I was there showing my support for the world’s first modern indigenous state, something that as an indigenous person, I find to be imperative. So no, there was no “history of incitement. If you had bothered to actually come over to our side last night and speak to me, you would have also found that Ala Hamdan, who you quoted, neglected to tell you that the “event” that we “disrupted” was a debate at which a pro palestinian approached me and said ” I am sorry the Nazis missed some of your family.” Because he mistakenly thought I was a Jew. By “disrupted” she meant that I laughed out loud and told them that when you have people like Jordan Duke supporting you, you know your cause is immoral. They “apologized” to me, saying “Sorry, he didn’t know you weren’t Jewish.” Thinking perhaps that it would be OK to say something like to a Jew, but not to an Indian? That’s the mindset we are dealing with here.

Your coverage of last night’s protest was, however, the icing on the cake. Not only did you exclusively quote one side while ignoring the other, your obvious bias is now confirmed. There will be charges laid and no police spokesperson I have spoken to has said that the pro Israelis did anything they could be charged with. That assertion in your “story” was profoundly idiotic and extremely misleading.

I didn’t see either of you take the short walk across the street to speak to any of us. Had you done so, you would not have seen any hate filled signs being shown, like were being shown by the “pro palestinians”-  such as ” Don’t do to us what Hitler did to you” and my personal favorite “Zionism is Naziism.” Frankly, your coverage of this story has led me to decide not to read your paper anymore.

Canadians are not stupid people. The facts here speak louder than your biased interpretation of them, and I believe that the truth always comes out in the end.

Absolutely no regards,
Ryan Bellerose

About Ryan Bellerose

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. Ryan was unsure if his real name was "Go get water!" or "Go get wood!" In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football , reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

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