Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Letter to the Editor: Suffolk University must stand with Palestine in the midst of genocide

Letter to the Editor: Suffolk University must stand with Palestine in the midst of genocide

We, Suffolk University Students for Justice in Palestine, call on the entire community to address the ongoing genocide and 75 years of occupation in Palestine. We are frustrated by Suffolk’s lack of recognition and response to current aggressions against Indigenous Palestinians and support for respective Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students on campus. 

How we discuss human beings can be a matter of life or death. Highlighting the real impact of violence, consider the hate crime in Burlington, Vermont. Three Palestinian students were shot for wearing keffiyehs and speaking Arabic. This incident underscores the dehumanization of Palestinians, revealing the complicity in hate crimes by media, academic institutions and governmental bodies. The tragic death of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and the hate crime on Abdulwahab Omira in a hit-and-run further emphasize this culpability. 

Palestinians are being slaughtered in the tens of thousands. This issue did not begin on Oct. 7; it has been ongoing since 1948. Palestinians have been massacred, detained in military prisons indefinitely, subject to torture, medical experimentation, forced sterilization, sexual assault by law enforcement, thousands of military checkpoints, restricted access to food and water and repeated airstrike attacks for months on end, with the aid of illegal white phosphorus bombs that burns flesh off of bones. No individual should live in such pain and suffering. 

Recognizing our privilege, we urge the Suffolk community to fulfill our civic duty by speaking out for those in Palestine. The absence of these tragedies within our borders doesn’t justify complacency; we must advocate for and amplify the voices of the people of Palestine, acknowledging that genocides unfolding beyond our immediate surroundings require our attention. What is occurring in Palestine is not merely a conflict plaguing the Middle East or a conflict tied to religion. This is a history of Indigenous peoples fighting for land sovereignty. It is a history of Afro, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Palestinians that have always existed, continue to exist and have lived in harmony for years. It’s crucial to understand this resistance to genocide isn’t rooted in religious hate, as mainstream and government officials continue to push. Instead, it is a struggle against an occupying force over an oppressed people. 

Suffolk University Students for Justice in Palestine protest outside the Massachusetts State House alongside students from Emerson and Berklee College Jan. 25. (Shealagh Sullivan)

Since Oct. 7, Suffolk University Students for Justice in Palestine have observed a concerning lack of support for Palestinian voices on campus from the university administration and the City of Boston. The absence of a consistent effort to establish a safe space for Palestinian students is evident. This oversight is particularly apparent in discussions about Palestinian narratives, which often lack representation, especially for students with families affected by occupation and settler violence. We want to affirm our presence, resilience and ongoing efforts to establish ourselves on campus. Despite suppression and consequences faced by students at other institutions, such as Harvard, MIT, Brandeis and Tufts, for taking action to stop the slaughter of Palestinian children, our resolve remains undeterred. As human beings of conscience, we must resist occupation, ethnic cleansing and oppression from Sudan to Congo and from Armenia to Palestine. As students at Suffolk University, we extend unwavering support to the Palestinian people, and to our fellow students at institutions throughout Massachusetts and the broader United States who demand an end to the vicious suppression of Black and Brown voices. 

Since the declaration of “war,” Suffolk University has chosen to remain neutral in this active extermination. Since Oct. 10, Suffolk has chosen not to stand with the freedom of Palestine. Our institution has remained silent as over 28,000 Palestinians have died at the hands of U.S.-funded weapons. Our tax dollars personally fund this genocide and others worldwide. Choosing neutrality and silence in the face of genocide only allows for continued violence and a lack of accountability for oppressive forces. 

We can no longer continue this reference to the “Middle East” instead of Palestine. This oversimplification undermines the Palestinian struggle, neglecting the specific violence they’ve faced for the last 75 years. Avoiding the mention of Palestine is a method of cultural and ethnic erasure, catering to those opposing Palestinian statehood and existence. It dismisses the suffering of millions. This reference in recent administrative statements is unacceptable. 

As our dear Palestinian brother, Fathi Nemer, once said, “The world would rather show solidarity with our corpses than honor our resistance.” The question remains: what side of history will you be on? Time is ultimately running out. How many innocent civilians must die at the hands of occupation before we call for a ceasefire? Some children are given a death certificate before they’re even able to be issued a birth certificate. How long should the children of Palestine wait for humanity? 

Suffolk University Students for Justice in Palestine protest on Tremont Street, alongside students from Emerson and Berklee College Jan. 25. (Shealagh Sullivan)

Our university motto is “Honestas et diligentia,” meaning honesty and diligence. As an institution built on the ideals of equity, justice and opportunity, we believe that the Palestinian movement for liberation and self-determination inherently aligns with the values of our institution. As Palestinian hospitals, schools, shelters and other vulnerable areas remain under ruthless attack, continued aggression and the consequent dire circumstances terminate Palestinians’ rights to education, healthcare, safety and ultimately freedom. 

We highlight the strength, courage and spirit of our brothers and sisters fighting for their lives in Palestine. Their steadfast dedication to their land, commitment to family and ongoing hope inspire us, and we hope the world grows more inspired than it is now.

 

As Students for Justice in Palestine, we demand the following: 

University Acknowledgement and Statement: 

  1. Suffolk University, alongside relevant departments, must release a statement acknowledging the mass slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians at the hands of occupying powers 
  2. The statement must also include recognition of the challenging circumstances faced by Palestinian students on campus and enact a crisis response plan 
  3. Take proactive steps to address the root causes of the crisis collectively, not just recent aggressions

Transparency: 

  1. Suffolk University to disclose both direct and indirect financial investments in companies implicated in acts of genocide and human rights violations against Palestinians. Subsequently, Suffolk must divest all direct or indirect holdings in such corporations. 
  2. Suffolk University Police Department to maintain complete transparency in disclosing their participation in previous Israeli counterterrorism seminars.

University Action: 

  1. Ensure that Palestinian students are represented in curriculum, discussion and decision-making processes that involve the discussion of Palestine. 
  2. Suffolk University reevaluates language used within its statements, classrooms and one-on-one conversations, including the University’s zero-tolerance policy to protect Palestinian students and allies better. 
  3. Suffolk University must end all programs and funded trips to Israel and Occupied Palestinian territory, such as the Global Travel Seminar to Israel, and remove all related images/advertising from said trips. 

Best Approaches to Collaborative Solutions and Accountability: 

  1. Ensure appropriate communication to Palestinian students and members of Suffolk SJP is to be through school-designated emails only 
  2. Using language including referring to the “Middle East” instead of Palestine must no longer continue, especially within recent administrative statements 
  3. Implement direct crisis response plans with the guidance of relevant student leaders on campus 

With Love, 

Suffolk University Students for Justice In Palestine

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About the Contributor
Shealagh Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief | she/her
Shealagh is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in international relations from Ashby, Massachusetts. She has previously worked as a co-op for the Boston Globe on the homepage desk and as an intern for GBH News and Boston Public Radio. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, finding a new favorite coffee spot and exploring Boston. She is a huge art lover and wants nothing more than to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. After graduation, Shealagh hopes to be a political journalist in Washington D.C. Follow Shealagh on X @ShealaghS.

Comments (5)

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  • M

    MycaFeb 16, 2024 at 4:18 pm

    Reply
  • S

    SophiaFeb 15, 2024 at 5:54 pm

    Agreed. Well said.

    Reply
  • H

    Hana W.Feb 15, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    Free Free Palestine!!

    Reply
  • K

    KristiFeb 15, 2024 at 10:01 am

    A very well written and thoughtful piece. We are hypocrites of we do not speak out against genocide.

    Reply
  • R

    Robert RushingFeb 14, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    Free Palestine

    Reply