British-Palestinian schoolgirl expelled from public speaking competition

Middle East Monitor, May 31, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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When I was in grade five I won the public speaking competition with a speech about Sir Frederick Banting and the discovery of insulin. It was uplifting and mildly patriotic. But when I was in grade eight I won the same competition with a scathing and powerful speech against the Vietnam War. I won the following three years as well, finishing with "How to be a dictator in give easy steps". The ability to write and deliver a speech is a powerful force, and I'm glad it was developed in me. So I feel for Leanne Mohamad, a 15-year-old student at Wanstead High School in London, who won a regional final of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge for a moving speech about the Palestinians called ‘Birds not Bombs’, but was barred from participating in the final. She should be allowed to speak.

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