Bissan Eid returns to Montréal

July 10th, 2017 | Posted in Palestine, Solidarity, Tadamon!

Canadian government must answer to the Eid family and be accountable for its inaction


On Friday, June 30th, Bissan Eid and her infant daughter Sarah returned to Montréal after six months in Gaza. They had previously been unable to leave due to the Israeli military siege over the Palestinian territory.

In January 2017, Bissan and the Eid family first called on the Canadian government to take action in support of Bissan’s right to return to Montréal. Yet, for over six months, the Canadian government failed to act. As a result, Bissan was forced to give birth in Gaza — far away from immediate family and friends and under military blockade.

Canada could have intervened earlier to bring Bissan home — that it failed to do so illustrates the ongoing reality of institutional racism within the Canadian state infrastructure. It is difficult to imagine the Canadian government would have provided so little support and follow-up to any other Canadian citizen trapped abroad. In this sense, Bissan’s experience of Israeli apartheid policies and structural violence were normalized by the Canadian government, who accepted the racist, violent treatment she was subjected to by Israeli authorities as a matter of course.

“Gaza is a real prison for over 2 million Palestinians who live there. During the 2014 Israeli aggression, 20% of the buildings in Gaza were destroyed. Israeli authorities do not allow building materials nor food to enter and there is only 3 to 4 hours of electricity per day. Palestinians don’t have the right to leave Gaza for any reason,” says Hadi Eid, Bissan’s father, also outlining that, “the lack of medical supplies imposed by the Israeli blockade has increased the infant mortality rate and nearly doubled the neonatal mortality rate. In a prison, you can eat, see a doctor when you are sick and have electricity 24/7; Gaza is worse than a prison.”

Today, we celebrate the determination and strength of Bissan and the entire Eid family who were the heart and centre of this campaign. Their courage and perseverance has been a powerful inspiration for broader struggles to overcome injustice everywhere. We also acknowledge that Bissan’s return to Montréal took place within the context of a significant grassroots campaign in this city — one that included rallies, media work and intensive lobbying.

We would like to thank the thousands of individuals and many organizations who supported Bissan and Sarah’s right to freedom of movement throughout this unjust and unjustifiable ordeal including many members of the Concordia University community, notably the Centre for Gender Advocacy, Community, Empowerment, Education, Development (CEED Concordia), the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Graduate Students’ Association, the School of Community and Public Affairs, the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, and Teaching and Research Assistants and Invigilators at Concordia, as well as Amnesty International, the Immigrant Workers Centre, la Ligue des droits et libertés, and the South Asian Women’s Community Centre. We would also like to express our gratitude to the following individuals for their public support and statements: Aaron Lakoff, Amanda Ghahremani, Anique Vered, Dr. Anna Kruzynski, Dr. Chedly Belkhodja, Dr. Elena Razlogova, Freda Guttman, Dr. Homa Hoodfar, Hubert Gendron-Blais, Jesse Freeston, John Greyson, Jordan Arseneault, Dr. Kevin Gould, Dr. Kimberley Manning, Lorraine Guay, Noe Arteaga Santos, Dr. Norma Rantisi, Safa Chebbi, Shahrzad Arshadi, Shanice Nicole, Sophia Sahrane, Sundus Abdul Hadi, Tarek Loubani, Yassin “Narcy” Al Salman, and Zola.

“The siege on Gaza makes Palestinians’ lives miserable and inhuman,” says Bissan Eid, “let us continue to support the human rights of oppressed people everywhere and especially the Palestinian people who have been under Israeli occupation for over 70 years.”

Today, we share this text to assert that the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli military siege on Gaza, and more broadly against Israeli apartheid, demands our ongoing support. More specifically, we encourage people to take action to support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a tangible way to to push back against Israeli apartheid policies and express direct solidarity with Palestine.

The Eid family, Tadamon! and the Concordia Student Union invite the public to stay tuned for and take part in future actions and events in solidarity with the struggle to liberate Palestine.

For more information:

Leave a comment

Upcoming events