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Liz Bernier

Holocaust Survivor Speaks at UWO

Bill Glied said he was hiding in a boxcar with no roof when a group of American fighter planes started shooting at his train. Sick with typhoid fever and weighing 69 pounds, Glied had just been released from the concentration camp he’d spent countless hours laboring in. But escaping the camp meant little with bullets raining from the guns of his liberators. In a classroom at the University of Western Ontario, Glied’s words strike a stark contrast with the mundane scene before him. Over 70 students packed themselves into the small lecture hall to hear him speak. But Glied is happy for any opportunity to share his story. Travelling from Toronto, the 81-year-old made the trip to campus Thursday evening to tell Western students about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. Glied was born in the former Yugoslavia in 1930. He grew up in Subotica, a small city near the border of Hungary. His parents had a flourmill, and he and his younger sister Aniko went to school. Life went on as usual until Glied was 11 years old. Before that year, he played soccer at school and went to movies Sunday afternoons. But that year, the Germans invaded. Glied’s family was Jewish. The changes started slowly, one at a time: the Star of David was to be worn at all times. No Jews were allowed to walk on the sidewalk, go to the movies, or own radios. But for Glied, the turning point was the day his teacher told the four Jewish children in his class that they must sit at the back, away from the others. “In that moment, the moment we were segregated, things became different,” he said.It wasn’t long after that Glied’s family was segregated entirely: in 1944, they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Glied remembers being herded onto cattle cars by black-clad S.S. officers.… Read More

A personal struggle motivates bone marrow drive at UWO

Jason Grossman is a busy guy.Sitting at a table in the middle of the University of Western Ontario’s crowded student centre, he deals calmly and patiently with a seemingly endless line of students. And he does it with a smile. The 19-year-old business student is the primary organizer of Western’s “Get Swabbed” drive, where students can sign up as potential bone marrow donors in a worldwide database.Thursday marked UWO’s second year hosting the drive. As one of over 20 schools across the country participating, Western partnered with One Match and Canadian Blood Services, who cover the costs of the testing kits.The kits include four swabs that collect DNA from the saliva on the inner cheek. Donors will be added to the database, and hopefully matched to patients in need of bone marrow.“There are about 950 Canadians right now searching for a bone marrow transplant that haven’t been able to find one,” Jason said. “They’re simply sitting there waiting and hoping that someone will be a match for them.”Those 950 people are just a fraction of those who might find a donor in the global registry. But today, Jason has one particular person in mind.“A few years ago, my father was sick with something called myelofibrosis, and he needed a bone marrow transplant,” Jason said. “Because we couldn’t find a match, we started our own bone marrow drive to gain support and registrants for the system.”Jason’s father, Jonathan, passed away in 2009 at the age of 47, after complications from chemotherapy, and after a long struggle to find a donor.At the time, One Match did not do bone marrow drives for individuals, leaving the Grossman family to cover the costs of the drive — both financial and emotional.“It was so helpless,” Jason said. “There was nothing you could do except do whatever… Read More

Notes on Occupy Toronto

On Saturday, 15 October, the heart of Toronto’s financial district was taken over by about 3,000 protestors.The business mecca at the intersection of King and Bay began to fill with protesters early in the morning. Some were wearing costumes, others carrying signs, and most carrying their nearest and dearest political cause in mind.An elderly lady sporting clown makeup and carrying a cardboard cut-out of a flaming police car was just one of the many characters on hand. But in this crowd, she fit right in.The protest in Toronto was inspired by the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstration in New York City, where demonstrators have been gathering to protest corporate greed and economic inequality.The range of different causes and concerns present at Occupy Toronto made for a protest that initially seemed unorganized and risked becoming a sidewalk forum on inequality and social justice.There were initially as many journalists present as protesters. But the event gained momentum and cohesion thanks to the efforts of community organizers.Mike Roy is one such organizer. Based out of London, Ontario, Roy helped coordinate a bus trip so that several local organizations could join the demonstration.“We put [this] together with the help of many, many different groups,” he said. “We’re coming here and we’re going to show everybody what solidarity looks like.”Roy explained that demonstrations like these rely heavily on youth mobilization and alternative media streams. Both outlets are essential in spreading the message and educating communities about social justice issues.“If it wasn’t for alternative media than a lot of people wouldn’t know this stuff,” he said. “Mainstream media just doesn’t do the extra work.”Roy is a strong advocate for a more active, grassroots approach to political participation. He believes that it is up to each individual citizen to create the changes they want to see.“These people you… Read More