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Campus Protests for Gaza and the Right Side of History

Last updated on May 14, 2024

I was born in 1989. Although I don’t really remember much about South African Apartheid, I remember when it fell.

My grandparents actually had a newspaper clipping from 1994 about the fall of the apartheid regime that was kept in the middle drawer of their computer desk. As Quakers, they were against apartheid, and as I became older and more capable of understanding the world around me, they taught me more about what apartheid was along with many of the other racist anti-human systems baked into the function of our world.

What I think is important to remember is that at the time—with protests on college campuses, in front of embassies, and in the streets of cities all over the world—the overwhelming opinion of the western, white, neoliberal world was for apartheid. They supported the white minority rule of the settler colony of South Africa. The young people, the students, and the working poor minorities who fought against it were seen by them as everything from a simple nuisance to serious threat to their power.

Decades before that, the same demographic who supported Apartheid were the ones clutching to the Jim Crow laws that racially segregated America, cheering on the police while they maimed and murdered hundreds of innocent protestors. And today, it is that same demographic of the comfortable and privileged who at best turn their backs to the suffering and death of Israels genocide against Gaza, and at worst gleefully support it.

But just like every time in recent history where there has been an unthinkable injustice, a section of society has stepped up, using their voices and in many cases their bodies in order to tell the world that the European settler colony of Israel must not be allowed to continue it’s genocide against the Palestinian people. Their message is clear: turn your attention to Gaza, see what is really happening there, and you will see that it cannot keep going.

It’s working. Campus protests have been met with police violence and mass arrests across the country and world, and yet they keep going. Many universities have been forced to divest from companies and financial systems that support Israel’s genocidal, apartheid state. Many Americans and others around the world have been forced to reckon with the lies they have believed about Israel and Palestine. More than two thirds of American’s want a permanent ceasefire.

Most notably the world is beginning to see through the Zionist propagandists who have labeled antisemitic anyone protesting in support of Palestinians and opposition to Israeli apartheid. The campus protests have often been sponsored and led by Jewish groups and students. Journalists on social media platforms have shown the peaceful and welcoming reality of these protests in stark contrast to what the mainstream media has portrayed.

I really hope and believe that we are starting to see the positive outcome of this protests, as we did with the end of South African apartheid in 1994, and with the end of the Jim Crow laws in the 1960s. No matter what the reality remains that in almost every time in history like what we are living through now, when there have been thousands of young, educated people protesting against what they believe to be wrong, and have been on the receiving end of overwhelming police violence and slanderous portrayal in the media, they have been on the right side of history.

Published inpoliticssocial justice

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