Boycott vs. Chapel Hills Mall monitors

Boycott Israeli Apartheid
Please contact CFP if you can take a half-hour shift tomorrow. Gaza remains imprisoned, the FGM activists and aid convoy are still forbidden entry. The peace protesters are being roughed up in Egypt, and DAY 2 of our little Chapel Hills Mall action wasn’t without excitement either.

chapel hills mall security

At the height of our numbers, we were watched over by three police cruisers, a mall security SUV and what turned out to be an unmarked pickup. The law enforcement contingent eventually dissipated, only to reconstitute itself quickly when we decided to drive around the mall parking lot in search of a photographic angle that included the mountains in the backdrop.

As we drove between lots trying to frame the shot, the various police and security cars would weave into adjacent lanes keeping us in their sights. Funny and creepy. I confess to becoming too intimidated to take any pictures lest they pretend we were casing the joint. Did they think we were going to make a break for the mall doors?

In fact, the boycott message is suitably conveyed from the public sidewalk. The mall has written rules which severely constrict circulating fliers and petitions inside. If your application is accepted, for one day per quarter year, the mall administrators can assign you a location far from the bulk of the customers. Political messages cannot interfere with commerce, and the entire holiday shopping season is off limits.

For the most part, holding the placards was uneventful. Most shoppers pulling into the mall responded with blank expressions of confusion. Every so often we had to answer queries shouted from their windows as they waited at the light. Several times we received thumbs up, waves, and honks of support. Other times we could see drivers share words with the police cars keeping watch.

One woman walked by us scanning our signs with a deliberate scowl. “Actually, she she informed us, I like the Israelites.” I didn’t take issue with her, but suggested that what the “Israelites” were doing to the people of Gaza was not right. She disagreed, turning on her heels hissing: “The people of Gaza are Muslims.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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