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Prejudice At Eden Park: Palestinian Kiwis Tired Of Racism And Ignorance

On Saturday 20th January at the Eden Park match between Auckland and Northern Region, Palestine solidarity protesters will hold a peaceful protest remembering killed family in Gaza and in support of Palestinian Kiwi’s right to cultural expression without fear of prejudice or discrimination.

A video (linked) showing a security guard confiscating a Palestinian flag from two women circulating in the community has caused distress and anger.

Despite stated policy allowing flags at matches, Eden Park management has deemed the flag a threat and considered it offensive and a “risk to safety, disruption or disorder” under their discretionary decision-making.

Displaying a national flag is not a hostile threat or offensive. The Palestinian flag symbolises an Indigenous identity much like the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. The only offence comes from those who misinterpret its symbolism or attribute racist stereotypes and prejudicial views. Commenting on the decision by Eden Park, Omar Hasaniah, PYA Executive member, said:

"We reject the prejudice and racist mischaracterisations of our Palestinian identity. Palestinians in Aotearoa have a right to celebrate their culture with pride, free from prejudice, as all migrants to Aotearoa do.

“At a time when our families and people are being eliminated in a process of Genocide, our community is deeply hurt by these ill-informed decisions. We are tired of the uneducated assumptions.”

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From 1967 to 1994 Palestinian flags were banned in the Occupied Territories of Palestine by the Illegal Israeli Occupation. The ban on the Palestinian flag was lifted in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords. The flag symbolises a struggle for freedom and the right to self-determination, as well as the cultural heritage and expression of Indigenous identity.

"The persistence in Western cultures of an archaic and discriminatory view of the Palestinian flag created and perpetuated by Israeli colonisation needs to end.

“When our land, our homes, our people, and identity are being crushed by Israel in Palestine the cultural expression of Palestinians in the diaspora is all that is left to us.

“We are thankful for our safe and adopted home, and express gratitude to the increasing number of Kiwis supporting the Palestinian struggle,” said Omar.

It is disappointing that Eden Park can support Ukraine with a flying of yellow and blue but is out of step with the growing understanding in New Zealand of the nature and history of the Israeli Occupation. This is clearly a result of prejudiced stereotypes of who Palestinians are and how we behave.

Palestinian Youth Aotearoa reserves the right to raise a complaint with the NZ Human Rights Commission and has repeatedly reached out to Eden Park Management to discuss the issue.

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