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Friday, May 10, 2024

Trinity protest success: ‘These little wins add up to the big win’

An agreement by Trinity College to accept student’s demands to cut ties with Israel is a “little win” that can “add up to the big win,” according to a leading UK journalist.

Owen Jones said a series of “small wins” from various protests around the globe helped end apartheid in South Africa in 1990.

The student encampment that ended at Trinity College after five days ↗ yesterday mirrored similar university protests taking place in the US and elsewhere against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

On The Hard Shoulder today, Mr Jones said those who think protests are a waste of time are wrong.

“Trinity College students just showed that’s not the case,” he said.

“They were arguing for the college to pull investment from Israeli companies that are directly linked to illegal settlements in the West Bank, for example.

“Before they started the encampment, the university said it wasn’t going to happen, they dragged it out for months, and yet after five days of the encampment, which came at a financial cost to the college in terms of visitors and tours, they u-turned.”

Owen Jones in Newstalk studios today. Image: Newstalk

The prominent Palestinian solidarity campaigner said their tactics follow a similar student campaign against apartheid in South Africa over three decades ago.

“This is an international movement modelled on the anti-apartheid movement that was so successful in terms of South Africa,” he said.

“What you had in South Africa was apartheid, a system of race domination and there was a campaign to isolate South Africa until it ended – and that’s modelled on BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions).

“It’s is to say that if you are part of an institution that has investments in Israeli firms then you should build a campaign to cancel them and that’s what they did.”

‘If you look back in history, the people you want to be on the side of are the student protesters’ – @OwenJones84 ↗ on the Trinity Students’ Union encampment.@TheHardShoulder ↗ @KieranCuddihy ↗ pic.twitter.com/3blV0Eg4wy ↗

— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) May 9, 2024 ↗

Mr Jones said small protests and actions can lead to big results.

“People say, ‘I’m only one person, If I don’t vote what difference does that make in the grand scheme of things except on the most knife-edge of votes,’” he said.

“But if everyone took that approach it would be an end to democracy itself.

“You have these student protests around the world and then Trinity College students in Dublin think, ‘We need to do the same thing; we need to learn from them’.

“That’s what happened with South Africa and it’s those little wins that get you the big win.”

Main image shows destroyed buildings inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, 19-03-2024. Image: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Mr Jones said Israel is committing a “genocidal onslaught” on Gaza.

“They’ve erased Gaza off the face of the earth, 70% plus of its civilian infrastructure has been severely damaged or destroyed,” he said.

“Gaza is a different colour and texture now when you look at it from space and tens of thousands have suffered brutal mass slaughter ↗, many of them children.

“A poll earlier this year showed 70% of Irish citizens believe Israel practices apartheid, which it self-evidently does.”

Mr Jones suggested the remaining 30% should “read up” on what’s happening.

You can listen back here:

Main image: Protest outside Trinity College Dublin in support of students’ encampment of the Book of Kells. Photo: Neasa Nic Cocráin.

Michael Maren
Michael Maren
Former marine biologist who likes to spend as much time in the tropics as possible, due to a horrible time I once had in Alaska. Brrrr.

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