As I am sure many of you student types are aware, there is currently a national student campaign again the goings on in Gaza (something along the lines of free palestine...) and whilst one of course cannot argue with this in principle, yes the middle east is a pretty messed up part of the world, I have spent the best part of four days seriously questioning the methods of the protesters.
Yes people, at a guess around 40 or so hippy protestors have moved into the law faculty, yes...moved in. This has struck the vast majority of the law stundets as being just well...an incredibly strange thing to do.
First point of madness - They moved in on a friday night. The faculty isn't open over the weekend, until Monday morning the vast majority of people didn't know they were there.
Second point of madness - the main communal area of the law faculty is the lower ground floor with no windows...as a result the vast majority of people still don't know they're there.
Third point of madness - They are demanding that cambridge university issue a statement officially condeming the actions of Israel, which seems to indicate a delusion that if this were to happen the relevant authorities are all of a sudden going to go 'OH SHIT' and stop....
They claim that they do not wish to interrupt the daily goings on of the law faculty, however this seems to have very little truth to it, for one thing they're taken over one of the main lecture theatres to sleep in (god knows why, I can't sleep in there...I try often enough). Furthermore the bad design of the building means that the library isnt fantastically soundproof and believe it or not sound tends to carry when there are 40 student activists having a meeting downstairs.
Most shocking of all, it has recently come to my attention that the Hippies have in fact stolen my skittles. (I did of course never have any skittles and use the phrase merely for metaphorical effect) BUT my poor acquaintance Kostia, after a hard evenings work in the library, went downstairs to grab a snack only to find our once magnificent vending machine devoid of all but those few snackfoods which refuse to be vegitarian. Yes hippies stole Kotstias skittles, they stole my skittles, they have stolen the skittles of us all...WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END?!?!
Basically the vending machines in the faculty have been bled dry because the faculty has told the protestors they cant keep bringing in huge vats of stew for 'health and safety reasons' - this is legalese for 'we're trying to starve you out'.
I will pause at this point to point out that I know I sound like my brain is malfunctioning, I've been in the library for maaaaaaaany hours :p
We are all just so bloody confused by the whole thing. Its so horrificaly organised, if you read their list of demands its like they just sat down whilt drunk I scribbled down a list of things that popped into their heads. They want everything from the statement of condemnation and the University to withdraw investment in the arms trade (which is understandable but regrettably completely unfeasible) to completely unrelated specific things like 12 scolarships for palestinian students every year. Yes that would benice wouldn't it....what the hell has it got to do with the fact the Israeli's are bombing civilians?!? MADNESS i tells ye.
Anyway as I'm sure you, my avid readers, will be relieved to hear, the counter offensive has begun. Underneath the large banner saying FREE PALESTINE there now hangs a much more understated Free The Law Fac poster. Several more of these have appeared around the faculty building, including one placed in the self declaring 'campaign media centre' updating the world on the fact that the protest is achieving nothing. There are also rapidly growing facebook groups 'Get out of the law faculty' and in fact 'hippies stole my skittles' gathering support from the Cambridge legal community. Finally, as I type I am sat in the squire library with my dear friend hannah, each of us wearing drunkenly painted grey t-shirts brandishing the slogan 'free the lawfac' across them. (Isn't freedom of speech wonderful?)
A final note: on the one hand its probably a good thing that some people are challenging the apathy of our generation. On the other hand by sitting around in wooly hats and gypsy skirts with dredlocked hair they sure as hell aren't challenging any stereotypes either. Whilst it seems apathy may not reign supreme this is not exactly a return to the days of burning student activism. They're sat downstairs, in our nicely heated faculty, complete with indoor plumbing, a water fountain, a cafe that is open 9-2, lots of sitting space, and guess what, taking full advantage of our wi-fi on their laptops. Its not the sort of image that fills you with hope for mankind is it...?