I was invited on Tuesday morning on to do a CBC Radio studio interview. The invitation was extended because of an email I had sent objecting to the framing of the reaction to Ms. Robinson’s hateful rhetoric as the Muslim community’s issue with her remarks.
I had also published a blog post demanding Ms. Robinson’s resignation, which I believe was another reason the show asked me to appear. Once the news broke that Ms. Robinson had resigned from cabinet, CBC Radio uninvited me. I was told the show’s producers had decided to pivot to another angle.
I’m not going to question the merit of the show’s decision although I was disappointed to lose the opportunity to contribute to a broader public conversation.
Since I was denied the opportunity to share my thoughts on air, I would like to take the time to share a few of my thoughts with you here.
There are three points I’d like to bring to your attention:
1. Ms. Robinson is out of cabinet, but it took a significant amount of community action, a lot of protest, and a general sense of alarm for you, David Eby, to act. It took too long.
What the delay indicates to me, is that there’s a lot of work that you need to do on your own education regarding Palestinian history, the grave injustices that have marked the last 75 years of occupation, and the terrible human cost that we are witnessing every moment of every day.
Ms. Robinson’s resignation, this one outcome, cannot be seen as an ending. It’s just the start of a process in rediscovering empathy, enhancing understanding, and recognizing the value of Palestinian lives, past, present, and future.
2. Ms. Robinson has held the portfolio as Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills for a while now. Given that her remarks have now exposed her ideological biases, it’s essential for you to investigate the decisions she has made while in that position to ensure that racism and Islamophobia did not play a part in any policy or operational decision that she initiated, made, and implemented.
3. The issue of what is happening in Palestine, both in Gaza and throughout the West Bank, is greater than whether Ms. Robinson has left cabinet. As such, these conversations must continue, and the dialogue can’t just be about pivoting to discuss the fact that Ms. Robinson is no longer a Minister and what that means for you, your government, and your re-election prospects.
Oh, and one more thing before I go.
Those attempting to excuse Ms. Robinson’s remarks as a mistake, or those attacking the individuals demanding her resignation, are wrong. Ms. Robinson’s remarks were not a mistake, and she is not the subject of a vendetta.
People reacted to the evidence of her ingrained beliefs, a revelation to some and for those who have been following the breadcrumbs on her social media trail, a confirmation of a deeply unsettling behaviour pattern.
As I drove to work on Tuesday, anticipating that the invitation I had received earlier that morning would be withdrawn if your afternoon announcement included the news of Ms. Robinson’s resignation, I listened to the noon show on CBC.
The host read an email from a listener who explained her contention that Ms. Robinson did not need to resign by writing that all humans are equal.
That’s precisely the point. All humans are equal and as such deserve the rights and dignities afforded to people such as Ms. Robinson, the email writer herself, and you. Palestinians are humans, too, and nothing is more important at this time then advocating for their right to live in peace and to act when others treat them as disposable, erase them from history, and deny the truth of their existence.