Letter to the Editor: Violence in Gaza must be condemned

Due to The Mossy Log’s publishing cycle, this Letter to the Editor was originally written on Oct.17 2023 and published in print on Oct. 20,2023. 

Letters to the Editor exist to give voice to all members of the LC community. The Mossy Log’s aim is to provide a platform for as many perspectives as possible, on an ongoing basis. Opinions stated do not necessarily represent the views of the Mossy Log, its staff, or the administration of Lewis & Clark College. Readers are invited to submit Letters to the Editor at mossylog@lclark.edu.

Dear LC community members, allies and fellow Palestinians, 

We, the undersigned student organizations, unequivocally condemn the genocide in Gaza by the Israeli Regime, and ask that Lewis & Clark College Administration call the situation what it is: Not a war, not a conflict, but a genocide. We maintain our belief in Palestinians’ right to exist. Not just to exist, but to live freely, happily and safely. Additionally, we share grief with and send our deepest condolences to victims and their families affected by violence. We condemn all senseless violence against all innocents, regardless of the perpetrator.

We could tell countless stories of Palestinian suffering. Of mothers crying over lost children, of entire lineages eliminated in the collapse of a residential building, of children too familiar with the sound of rockets, of hastily dug mass graves, of body parts strewn across hospitals evacuated too late. We feel the grief with us as we write this. But we should not have to keep retelling these stories to make a simple request: Call genocide and ethnic cleansing what it is.

Since October 7th, Gazans have been subject to collective punishment at the hands of the Israeli government. Israel intensified its illegal 16-year blockade of Gaza, cutting access to water, electricity and fuel. The Israeli government declared a “siege” on the entire civilian population of Gaza, launching a mass bombing campaign that has killed over 4,200 thus far, making this the deadliest massacre Gaza has ever endured. The Israeli government is responsible for dropping over 10,000 bombs, as well as showering illegal white phosphorus on civilians. They target residential buildings, refugee camps, UN schools and hospitals. On Tuesday, we awoke to news of airstrikes on the Al-Ahli hospital, killing over 500 vulnerable, injured people. These inconceivable war crimes in no way justify the murder of Israeli civilians by armed groups.

One week ago, Israel called for the evacuation of 1.1 million residents out of Northern Gaza within 24 hours. They designated a safe route to the southern half of Gaza, then proceeded to bomb convoys openly carrying civilians. To put it in perspective, Gaza is smaller than Portland. Two million people are crammed into a 25-miles-long by 7-miles wide stretch, fenced in by Israeli apartheid walls, making it the third most densely populated area in the world. Evacuating the North is impossible, a “humanitarian disaster,” according to the World Health Organization. There is no escape. Gaza is no longer an open-air prison. It has become a death camp.

Gazans have no warplanes, no sophisticated iron dome, no military backed by the most powerful ally. Gaza cannot control Israeli water sources, nor withhold access to electricity, nor stop medical supplies from entering Israeli borders. So, we ask: Who holds the power? Who is the oppressor?

This is not happening in a vacuum. The suffering of Gaza is a product of over 75 years of settler colonialism, of decades of military occupation and apartheid alongside Western complicity. Israel has received 3.8 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money as handouts, which has left us with blood on our hands.The illegal annexation of Palestine which began in 1948 continues today. Since October 7th, the UN estimates that 1 million Gazans have been displaced – around the same number of those displaced in 1948. Cycles of violence affecting innocents on either side of the wall will continue to repeat themselves if Israel continues as is. The struggle of indigenous peoples for liberation is worldwide: Indigenous Palestinians are fighting the same fight of First Nations people in Australia and all the Americas. It is a fight for dignity, life and land. Oppression breeds resistance, and we refuse to remain neutral in the face of genocide. Silence is complicity.

Amidst the ethnic cleansing is also a full-scale propaganda war rooted in racism and Islamophobia, depictions of Muslims and Arab people as “savages” and “terrorists,” which predate this genocide, are on full display. A consequence of this is the murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian boy in Illinois. Wadea Al Fayoume was stabbed 26 times by his landlord. His last words to his mom: “Mama, I’m fine.” This is a product of propaganda that dehumanizes brown bodies. We condemn the hatred towards Palestinians and Muslims in the US. 

“Praying for peace” simply isn’t enough. Peace is submitting to being second-class citizens, to oppression and erasure. Peace without justice is tyranny. We strongly urge Lewis & Clark College to join us in standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to issue a statement condemning the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. 

In solidarity

Muslim Student Association

Arabic Club

Feminist Student Union

STAAR: Students for Transformative Action, Abolition, and Resilience

Gente Latina Unida (GLU) 

Neurodivergent Student Union (NDSU)

Black Flag Book Club

Native Student Union

Cheer and Step

Queer Student Union (QSU)

Black Student Union (BSU)

Afrikan Diaspora Club

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