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I am appalled at the extent to which the staff at Feds systematically censors and fundamentally restricts clubs from functioning.


The situation? Staff at Feds requested that I submit images I photographed on my trip to the occupied Palestinian territories to the scrutiny of another club on campus, Hillel (a pro-Israeli club), in order to hold events in which I intend to showcase said images. 


I agree that the images we share in public spaces should not exploit those depicted, and should be respectful and mindful of others. However, when images are exhibited on a polarizing topic, and when they happen to not fit the agenda of one side, should they be strictly prohibited? When they are accurate, verified, and unaltered, I say we ought to conclude that the answer is no.


During my time in the occupied Palestinian territories, I had live ammunition, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, homemade projectiles, and skunk water shot at me by the Israeli military. I documented countless human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military against innocent Palestinians — my friend had a 14-year-old Palestinian boy die in his arms, he was shot by an Israeli sniper at long range for throwing rocks at a protest against Israel’s illegal administrative detention policies. In addition, I’ve witnessed and documented illegal settlement expansion, village demolitions, escorted Palestinian children to school so they didn’t get shot at, and tried to mitigate the violence and discriminatory maltreatment inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli military simply by being a white international observer.


I want the UW campus to be aware of the countless breaches of international law carried out in Palestine and Israel; I am thus appalled that I need to ask for the permission of a group that may have a conflicting agenda to do so. 


This is a breach of freedom of expression. Here I am, attempting to unravel the web of fallacies that usually shroud this topic through my images, and in turn, I’m being confronted with acrimony for doing so. Occasionally the truth hurts, and there is no remedy by avoiding and suppressing it. 


<strong>Maximilian Altvater</strong>


1B Geography and Environmental Management


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