Reverse pacifism at Guilford College

“I’ve seen Israeli soldiers doing this to me in Palestine, but I’ve never seen this with citizens.”

Yes!Weekly’s Jordan Green caught up with visiting NCSU student Omar Awartani as he recounted his beating early Saturday morning at the hands of some Guilford College students.  Awartani was trying to pull “seven to eight“ assailants off his friends.  All three of the victims are Palestinian.

“That’s when I got my share of the assault,” he said. “That’s when they put me on the dirt and beat my ass. All this was accompanied by ‘sand niggers,’ ‘fucking Palestinians,’ ‘terrorists.’ I would like to say seven to eight people were attacking me.”

The N&R’s Joe Killian authored an account of the fray which appears on page B-2 but is unposted as of this mornin (Update: Now posted and a whole lot more). Joe writes that court documents indicate two Palestinian students were “severely injured” in the incident.  The documents further indicate the attack was carried out by “…at least 15 members of the football team“.  So far three people have been arrested and charged with assault and battery as well as ethnic intimidation. 

Officially, Guilford College says

“…Incidents such as these can be, understandably, sensitive and emotionally charged. We understand that these emotions cannot be easily subdued, nor should they be; however, factual analysis, rational and inclusive discourse, and openness are hallmarks of this College community.”

This is not going to be good for Greensboro.

Update: Sue… Quaker schmaker

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  1. Posted January 23, 2007 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I think this quotation, ““I’ve seen Israeli soldiers doing this to me in Palestine, but I’ve never seen this with citizens,” is unfortunate and moves the attention from where it should be placed: on the specific Guilford college students who did what might be a criminal act – we’ll know when all the facts are in. Trying to enlarge this to include the typical anti-Israel smear denigrates the people who I believe might be victims, here, in Greensboro, at Guilford College. Using the aged and tired anti-Israel sentiment when the President of the United States has called for “dead or alive” to terrorists and engendered anti-US antipathy globally, to select Israel as their summary statement smacks of another agenda.

    Nope, not good for Greensboro. Not good for anyone.

  2. Posted January 23, 2007 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Hey! I know that kid… One of the “accused”. He is a fellow alum in my 2004 class at R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, NC.

    Being one of my worst “harassers” at Reynolds, I really don’t find it surprising that he has gotten himself wrapped up in this. I’m not saying he did it, because we don’t know all the facts, but I think he should ask himself, if he didn’t really do it, “How did I put myself in a situation to ever be accused of something like this in the first place?”

  3. Posted January 23, 2007 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    As a student at Guilford, I can say that I, and most of the people I have talked to, are shocked that this happened. At Guilford, of all places! Anyone who has spent any amount of time on campus knows that this sort of hate and violence is abhorred by a very high majority of students and faculty. I guess, unfortunately, not by everyone.

  4. Mark
    Posted January 23, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, they’ll let just about anyone into college nowadays.

    It’s cases like this that really shake your confidence in our fellow humans. Worst case scenario: the crime was committed with forethought and malice. Best case scenario: alcohol. Neither scenario should be tolerated.

  5. Mike
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree with sue. No victim will get my sympathy by going and talking bad about Israelis who have to deal
    with Palestinian terrorism every day. Innocent people here in America or anywhere in the world should not be hurt by anyone but trying to use this even for an anti-Israel agenda is rediculous and will backfire.

  6. Sam
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Mike you are totally wrong on this.. you complain about his remark and you are as bad as the people you are talking about if not worse. The kid is a student not a politician, so his remark doesn’t make it an anti-israeli agenda, he is solely trying to put things into perspective. meaning, if it missed you, that he hasn’t seen such hate even from the occupying israelis. And do not even begin the absolute nonsense that the poor israelis are dealing with palestinian terrorism every day, how about the israeli terrorism the palestinians have to deal with every day? so do not make a fool of yourself by broadcasting pro-zionist anti-palestinian agenda while criticizing the other.

  7. Mitchell Roberts
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I also went to R.J.Reynolds with one of the accused. I have known him for quit awhile, and all this is BS! No one knows what started the fight yet so everyone is just pointing and the white football players and calling them racist. I think it is sad. Its the same bullshit they pulled on the Duke Laccrose team. They label this as a hate crime to stir up the media. And the alleged “victims” are saying it to get sympothy.

  8. Mike
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Excuse me sam you moron. You say this little punk is saying that he hasn’t seen such hate even from the Israelis here’s the quote read it again dumbass.

    “I’ve seen Israeli soldiers doing this to me in Palestine, but I’ve never seen this with citizens.â€?

    That means that Israeli soldiers do that but not American citizens, this is what we in people with brains land call pushing an agenda. Obviously you are to dumb to understand. How did Israel come into this conversation, it didn’t they put Israel in there on their own. they started pushing their agenda so I will push mine.

    First off occupying is the wrong word the right thing to say is the Israelis who are defending their citizens.

    Second, you are obviously an idiot if you think for a second that it is Israel’s fault that the palestinians are suffering. It is their own fault and every person with half a brain knows that but you obviosly don’t have that needed half a brain to understand, if you ever need to understand something just ask one of us normal folk and we will try to explain it to you.

    But this isnt about Israel this is about a bunch of football players who are being accused of something by a bunch kids. There was a fight we know that, we don’t know how it started I’m going to agree with Mitchell Roberts and say this sounds a lot like the Duke case. We’ll see what happens, keep Israel out of the discussion they have no business in it and you and this kid don’t have enough of a brain to talk about it.

  9. Wilbert Rehrauer
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Instead of insulting each other over Israel, lets talk about football. Football is an inherently violent game and in in my humble opinion has no place at a Quaker institution.

  10. M Greenberg
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Friends: I am not a student or a member of either academic community. But I am an American citizen, an American Jew, and a person concerned about the sort of stereotypes and hatred that this “war against terrorism” is generating. I had never heard of Guilford until this incident. But this experience certainly ought to be a wake up call to us all:

    No matter one’s own race or religion, we live in a country that arose out of a search for religious tolerance and that consitutionally supports equal rights. This country is about diversity, being a melting pot. Yet since our founding, in one unfortunate phase of our history after another, we have experiences of ethnic and racial hatred – including attitudes toward native Americans and African Americans, Irish and Italian and Polish immigrants, Jews, Japanese and Chinese, etc. With such a history, it behooves us all to be super careful now about the attitudes spawned by fears of terrorism.

    People around the world are afraid, and tend to trust those who are like them more than those who are in some way different. What we can do about the extremists, we as individuals, may be limited. But what we can do among our own, to fight ignorance and build understanding, is an essential and critical responsibility. There is no excuse for media, news or popular; or for leaders, community or national; to suggest or allow the belief that the religion of Islam or being Arab has anything to do with the dignity of a person, the richness and wonder of their beliefs and culture, the life values, or the commitment to peace. Every religion around the world right now has its extremists, not just Islam. There are extremists who are Christians, Hindi and Jews.

    But beyond the social and political, what these individual young Palestinian men have experienced in our country is heinous. And the fact that they as young men, as real people, come from an area that is militarized, where Israeli soldiers at checkpoints and airports mistrust them simply by virtue of being Palestinian and male, is not irrelevant to them as individuals. They came to the US in part to be away from an area that is tense, that is violent, that is filled with fear. US should be a place where they discover some safety, some respect for human beings. They need an opportunity to live without feeling that they are suspect, where they can enjoy being youth, enjoy learning, enjoy interacting with all people without being “on guard” and at risk.

    While of course there are many political dimensions to this, there is also the issue of the individual persons affected. I wish to express my regrets to these young men – and my hopes for all of us Americans that we can reach out to them, and bring something positive out of such a terrible experience of hatred and violence.

    Shalom and Salaam.

  11. Mike
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    M Greenberg you started off decently but you had to go in there and talk about how Israelis mistreat palestinians at checkpoints well you know what if there is a group of people trying to come and blow up Americans then we should be doing the same thing. Oh wait there is a group of people muslim extremists. If these palestinians were innocent then what happened to them was wrong but for you to come in here and just like the palestinian who was beaten up try to push your anti-Israel agenda is wrong. Israel is protecting itself We in america should be protecting ourselves.

  12. jack
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Greenberg was attempting to explain that these Palestinian students, being from a violent place, are accustomed to being physically attacked. They just didn’t expect it here, at a Quaker College. It doesn’t matter that the place where they are accustomed to being attacked is in Palestine and that their attackers are Israelis. The relevant part is that they were attacked in the US where diversity is championed. No political commentary was intended. The fact that you assume these are political statements indicate that you, too, lack knowledge of the world and are a bit anti-muslim/Palestinian yourself. Their is a conflict in Palestine and Israel; a student from either group may have made the same style comment. It isn’t political; it is simply their everyday experience and fears. Both groups, and all other students, should be able to attend US Colleges and be safe and secure.

  13. Mike
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh look we have another moron. yes I am pro-Israeli and anti-palestinian if the palestinian is a threat. Do I believe innocent palestinians should be hurt? No. This is what one of the “victims” said as quoted above “I’ve seen Israeli soldiers doing this to me in Palestine”. This is pushing an agenda. Jack you dumbass don’t tell me it’s just a statemnet and not political, it’s purely political this is about a palestinian being beaten up by football players in America. If you don’t understand that Israel had no place in this conversation then you are freaking moron.
    I think I’ve made my point keep Israel out of it or I will come back with my pro-Israel views and trust me I’m more then happy to.

  14. Wilbert Rehrauer
    Posted March 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for clarifying Israel’s role in this conversation.

  15. Mike
    Posted April 19, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Ummm Wilbert what do you have to do with this?