Skip to content

LETTER: Enough performative activism

'Performative activism with land acknowledgements and a sign that says Everyone Welcome all while you silence Palestinians and their allies is pure hypocrisy'

PelhamToday received the following letter in reaction to our story, Uproar at Regional Council over Gaza war.

Not even one minute after reading out a land acknowledgement in which Mat Siscoe claimed that "The Regional Municipality of Niagara stands with all Indigenous peoples past and present in promoting the wise stewardship on the lands of which we live", Councillor Siscoe brought forth a motion to strike down the motion to support Israelis and Palestinians, which ironically was seconded by Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) committee chair Laura Ip.

Both refused to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Palestinian-Canadians watching their loved ones killed or the killing and forcible displacement of Palestinians from their land in Gaza. After a near unanimous vote, with only Councillor Bateman and Councillor Kaiser voting against the motion, 18 people including Palestinian-Canadians with loved ones in Gaza right now, Jewish residents of Niagara Region, and allies were silenced and prevented from speaking.

As a resident of Niagara, I am tired of performative activism with empty-worded land acknowledgements, a big sign outside Regional Council that says "Everyone Welcome" and a rainbow crosswalk, all while they silence the voices of their own residents. Niagara residents have a right to be heard. Laura Ip should not be DEI chair if she is not willing to listen to the voices of everyone.

Mat Siscoe keeps bringing up the same excuse that this has nothing to do with Regional jurisdiction, but it does, especially when there are families here witnessing their loved ones being killed. I saw no complaints when Jim Bradley ordered that Niagara be lit up for Israel, or when Niagara was lit for Ukraine, but when it comes to Palestinians we are invisible. I saw no complaints when in 2022 Regional Council voted unanimously to support Ukraine and stand against Russia.

Do you ever ask yourself why is it that activism stops at Palestine? Is it because the colour of our skin, is it because of our religion, is it because of the language we speak? I don't know what it is.... but if 25,000 people were killed in Ukraine or some other European country, Regional Council would be screaming at the top of its lungs. Why is our blood so cheap? Why must Regional Council silence us? Performative activism with land acknowledgements and a sign that says Everyone Welcome all while you silence Palestinians and their allies is pure hypocrisy.

Jana Bataineh
St. Catharines