Saturday, May 12, 2007


The following article was front page of our recent issue - the posting of this piece on the blog is to encourage debate among students as to what your views are of the situation.

A donation to the building of Queen’s new £45 million library has caused Amnesty International to call on the University to mount pressure on the company in question which is allegedly involved in Human Rights abuses in the Middle East. The Caterpillar Foundation - the charitable branch of Caterpillar Inc – donated $100,000 last November to the Sir Anthony O’Reilly library due for completion in 2009.

Caterpillar is one of the main suppliers of bulldozers to the Israeli army which has been criticised by the United Nations for its destruction of Palestinian homes and farmland. The West Bank and Gaza Strip have long been areas of contention between Israel and Palestine. A separation barrier, referred to by Israelis as a Security Wall and Palestinians as an Apartheid Wall, is partially complete and undergoing continued construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In an Advisory Opinion given by The International Court of Justice the wall was ruled to be contrary to International law. In an excerpt from an Amnesty International report of 2004 it was stated “Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been made homeless or have lost their livelihood as a result of house destruction by the Israeli army.”

The Gown’s coverage of this story has provoked Amnesty International to issue a press release calling on Queen’s to take action on their corporate sponsor. Such a donation is “the perfect opportunity for the University to ask some hard questions of the company” according to Peter McGovern, chairperson of Queen’s Amnesty Student Society. “Caterpillar may see this donation as a positive PR opportunity - let's see them prove their bona fides as good corporate citizens by ending their complicity in these abuses.”

In a statement from Queen’s, the University maintained that they had “accepted the gift in good faith having undertaken due diligence”. Caterpillar’s Code of Worldwide Business Conduct asserts “As a company and as individuals, we hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity and ethical behavior” yet they maintain a lack of “the practical ability or legal right” to control the use of their machinery after it is sold.

Patrick Corrigan, Programme Director of Amnesty Northern Ireland has urged both the University and the student body to “bring pressure on Caterpillar Inc for their role in the destruction of Palestinian homes.” A small group of (Socialist?) students held demonstrations at the front of the University before Christmas but the general consensus is that the majority are simply not aware of the donation or Caterpillar’s role in the these human rights violations.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about issues which don't affect study lives.....

5/13/2007 8:47 pm  
Anonymous Peter Simons said...

Anon... you might try looking just outside the box of your own ignornace, you will see that there is a whole big world out there.

I know you seem unable to connect the dots right now... But CAT have given money to queens (thats our university full of students) and they are complict in the illegal distruction of homes and lives...

YOU are wondering how it affects students.... have a second try at reading that story would you...

5/14/2007 3:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its interesting that Sinn Fein/Ogra Shinn Fein are so vocal on this blog and yet, on an issue they would claim to be highly 'sympathetic/in solidarity with' they have said nothing. Surely the conflict, Cat's role and Queen's acceptance of the donation deserves comment, especially from an organisation who've added the Palestinian liberation campaign group as a friend on Bebo...

5/14/2007 1:26 pm  
Anonymous Speaking from the Backbenches said...

I think this is all being hyped up, a recent survey showed that 84% of Palestinians prefered bulldozers* to tanks any day. Now if Alvis Vickers were making a donation to the library fund that would be a story.

(*Helicopter gunships scored 2% on the same survey.)

5/14/2007 1:46 pm  
Anonymous Graham Smyth said...

anon- what is your obsession with Sinn Fein?

Have you nothing to say your self?

You remind me of EH

5/14/2007 3:02 pm  
Anonymous Someone laughing from backbenches said...

84% of Palestinians prefered bulldozers* to tanks... i wonder why??? hmmmm thing with massive guns - thing without massive guns. Are you a moron?

And where did you get these stats?

5/14/2007 3:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at the disgraceful comment posted on this blog in December by the Mature Students officer Claire Bailey.

Sack her!

5/14/2007 7:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

claire bailey said...
fuck i hate you all.

scum bags the lot of u.

12/13/2006 1:57 AM

5/15/2007 12:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least she's honest. Most of the exec feel the same but wouldn't have to guts to say it.

5/15/2007 10:20 pm  
Blogger Gown Team said...

This post is online in order to encourage debate about the topic in question (the Caterpillar donation to Queen's, Caterpillar's role in Middle East Human Rights violations).

Remarks of a personal nature are unwelcome. So many of the posters on this blog have opinions on each other but not on issues in the wider world - we had hoped to encourage some constructive debate...

5/15/2007 11:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the socialist student society did not organise those protests, i think the group you are looking for is the socialist worker student society(the same group that stood rather unsuccesfully in the sab elections, and who organised the debate with mr preston) whom were present with placards, though as far as im aware the protest was organised by friends of palestine.

The gown really ought to work on its knowlege of far left student groups

5/19/2007 12:52 pm  
Anonymous Greg said...

I know, tut tut to the gown, its a disgrace that you messed up that distinction. shame shame on you. I'm sure the studnt Body will be up in arms if you don't rectify this and apologise to those concerned. I might even cancel my subscription - even though it is free-

Or not- lol

5/19/2007 10:35 pm  
Anonymous Speaking from the Backbenches said...

Now, now you mustn't mix up your Socialist Workers Student's Society with your Socialist Society, or indeed your Socialist Forum, the nuclear disarmament people who had a meeting in the union, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and indeed the Ulster Unionists these days. Also don't confuse the Friends of Palestine with Ogra Sinn Fein ;)

5/20/2007 3:13 pm  
Anonymous Yoshimi said...

again guys with the boiling everything down to stupid personal arguements between u,,, The gown actually deals with a subject that we should all care about and act on with a united union voice,, an some how you manage to get an SF and EH dig in there....

its about time the lot of you wised up and stop being so petty. Queens manages to make links with a company that is taking an active role in destroying peoples lives by taking contracts to destroy houses families live in...

surely we should at least use this opportunity to use any links that our "fine" university has with this organisation to try and hold them accountable.

United voice for once,,, any chance?

5/21/2007 6:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"its about time the lot of you wised up and stop being so petty."

"United voice for once,,, any chance? "

Bit rich from a socialist. LMAO

5/22/2007 11:30 am  
Anonymous Yoshimi said...

"bit rich from a socialist"

unlucky big guy,, you've gone down the wrong path, not a socialist blogging here,
just someone interested in STUDENT UNION POLITCS (a definition would include - concerned about student issues affecting students) no where in this definition would their be mention of bigoted, divisive prat in training for northern ireland politics.

i advise you to take a read back of the minutes from SC and some of the comments on this thing. if ever there has been an exposure of the silly attitude taken by people in our union,, u should find it here.

instead of merely displaying exactly what i have been talking about could you instead give me any of your ideas for relating union activities to the lives of QUB students....

yours sincerely alledged leftie

5/26/2007 7:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's very interesting to see non arab and non muslim people concerned with issues like the palestine problem.

I respect your opinion very much

i invite you to add your blog to our independent directory

6/16/2007 11:19 pm  

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