What a difference a few years — and a Barack Obama administration — can make.
Malak Abdallahi, a high school senior in Texas, was allowed to carry the Palestinian flag at her graduation ceremony last month, according to the pro-Palestinian web site The Electronic Intifada.
But not before she fought to overcome opposition by administrators at Fossil Ridge High School. Opposition she knew was coming because her sister was denied the same opportunity a few years earlier.
The school celebrates the diverse origins of its students by displaying the flags of numerous countries during the graduation procession.
When she asked for an explanation, Abdallahi said vice principle Buddy Read told her there was “a conflict” and that administrators were not comfortable with her carrying the Palestinian flag, The Electronic Intifada reported.
When contacted, Read said the “only obstacle” to accommodating Abdallahi was a question of “how do we interpret the combination of allowing the student to represent her heritage versus what the political climate is.”
After receiving the bad news, Abdallahi was encouraged by a teacher to resist the decision and was reminded that she deserved the opportunity to carry her country’s flag, as the report noted.
The only problem here is that, aside from a few teachers in Texas, the United States does not recognize Palestine as a state, nor does the U.S. government define its relations with it as fully diplomatic.
The United Nations did vote in early November to upgrade Palestine from an “Observer Entity” to an “Observer State.” The U.S. voted against the measure and Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, said: “This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state.”
After enlisting the help of “a local Palestinian activist,” Abdallahi appealed the decision to head principal David Hadley.
As reported by The Electronic Intifada, Hadley told her there was “a particular individual who was especially opposed to Palestine being represented.. based on the United States’ political decision not to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.”
Abdallahi responded that she was being denied her right to self-expression and was being targeted because of one person’s narrow-minded views. A viewpoint consistent with many on the left who see acknowledging reality as being narrow minded.
In the end, Haley relented. “We will buy you a flag and if someone gets upset, we’ll deal with it,” he said, according to Abdallahi. “It’s your graduation and you have a right to represent your heritage.”
It’s too bad the New Hampshire senior who was denied the right to wear his U.S. Marine Corps uniform to his graduation instead of the traditional cap and gown was not the recipient of such generosity.
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