This evening in the Skelton Lounge, student organization Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine invited Joel Bitar, activist and graduate from Hunter College, to discuss his involvement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza – and to offer his eyewitness perspective of the December 2009 Gaza Freedom March in Cairo, Egypt, and share his passion of working for social justice in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Knowing very little about this ongoing struggle occurring in the other side of the world, I was extremely inquisitive of the current circumstances of this situation- having noticed that this controversy has “died down” and received minimal coverage in the news lately.
Through a series of very disturbing images, statistics, and videos recounting the extent of violence imposed upon both sides caught in this “turf battle”, Joel presented his insider, up-close narrative of a day in the life of a protester in Gaza. For instance, Joel recounted the levels of pressure faced when encountering the police force, as he and his fellow protesters were constantly scrutinized (often escalating into physical confrontation). I also learned a number of historical facts and political references (such as the Goldstone Report, Cairo Declaration, and 22 Days of Death & Destruction).
I wholeheartedly am in agreement with Edwin Starr‘s sentiment that war is never to be tolerated. Although my outlook on this situation is neutral, I truly applauded Bitar’s outstanding dedication to a cause he chose to stood up for.
And for a Batesie, that makes all the difference.