The Tab endorses Malia Bouattia for NUS President
She’s the only choice that makes sense
The time has come for an NUS President who speaks for all students with one voice. The time has come for an NUS President who challenges the government, challenges institutions and challenges us to be the best students we can be.
The NUS is crying out for a unifying candidate, one who understands the concerns of all students, no matter what their gender, race or class is. An awakener, a unifier, a leader.
This is the candidate the NUS needs. But the one they’re going to get will be like Malia Bouattia.
Buried inside the dusty pages of the NUS’ mission statement, you’ll find (and I know this is surprising) a couple of interesting sentences. They read:
“We promote, defend and extend student rights. We fight discrimination, isolation and prejudice.”
And who better to put these fine sentiments into practice than Malia Bouattia?
Malia who once described the University of Birmingham as a “zionist outpost”.
Malia, whose campaign has been endorsed by Raza Nadim, a spokesperson for the delightful MPAC, a British Muslim lobby known for its intense antisemitism. So extreme are the views of this group that it has actually been no-platformed by the NUS. When Raza gave Malia his support on Facebook she sent him a nice reply: “Thank you :-))”.
Moreover, Malia is more than happy to support a boycott of Israel while opposing an NUS motion to condemn the Islamic State.
A little context about the Islamic State, from a recent Guardian long read, is useful here. The writer is interviewing a man named Abu Abdullah, who was then a top level ISIS soldier:
“Abu Abdullah’s disillusionment began, he told me, in the late summer of 2014, when a tribe in eastern Syria called the al-Shaitat had rebelled against Isis, and in the ensuing battles, close to a thousand of them were massacred. Abu Abdullah knew little about it, but was assigned to provide security for a convoy of dump trucks that was en route to the town of Slouk, not far from where the battle took place. Outside the town is a deep natural gorge known as al-Houta. As the trucks arrived at the edge of the gorge and tilted their beds back, Abu Abdullah watched in horror as the corpses of women and children began tumbling out. It was not just a few. There were dozens of them. Many had been shot in the head. The little bodies rolled down the slope of the gorge, shedding bloody scarves and shoes as they went, like garbage flooding into a bin.”
Who’d ever feel the need to condemn something like that? Not Malia Bouattia. And that’s why she’d be an ideal NUS President. It’s an institution that doesn’t unify students and never has done. Malia reflects that better than anyone.
As a candidate Malia might be the most divisive, most problematic, most unrepresentative the NUS has ever had. Her actions certainly haven’t made Jewish students feel particularly safe. Every Jew Soc President in the UK has signed a letter asking her to address concerns over her “past rhetoric”.
But it is her past rhetoric that makes her the perfect candidate to be NUS President.
The NUS does not represent students. The NUS does not lead students. The NUS does not understand students.
It’s a narrow organisation led for and by a narrow group of people. Obsessed with identity, aiming always to annihilate the words, ideas and spaces they disagree with, eager to grab and hold on to as much power as their pitiful organisation offers them.
Above all they encourage us to see ourselves as more weak and fragile than we actually are, to see ourselves more like them. It’s an organisation that has come to stand for fear, rather than hope.
And for that reason, there’s nobody better to lead it than Malia Bouattia.