The independent student newspaper at Goucher College

Defying the Tomb: Gaza We Won’t Let You Die

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A written response to an email Statement from CREI on Reaffirming their Commitments to Social Justice

“If the world is upside down the way it is now, wouldn’t we have to turn it over to stand up straight?” – Eduardo Galeano, Patas arriba. La escuela del mundo al revés  

In my home country of Peru, the reactionary forces produced a historically particular set of vocabulary to push the opposition on the defensive. The Peruvian right wing produced a tactic of terruqeo, calling anyone a terrorist for opposing the right wing.

  They called their opponents terrucos, removing the -ista in the Spanish terrorista and adding -uco a common suffix in Quechua to racialize and marginalize their oftentimes Indigenous opponents. 

Goucher, notably CREI in their latest statement, echoes this tactic by presenting the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian resistance as a “conflict between Hamas and Israel” (Hernandez). They claim to “see us” and understand “historical atrocities” but they reduce the events of the Al-Aqsa flood to an isolated conflict rather than placing it within the context of 75 years of colonization (Hernandez).

Goucher has set out from a ridiculous premise “[condemning] acts of terrorism and violence” but refusing to condemn the Zionist entity for keeping hundreds of children hostage in their prisons, refusing to condemn the Zionist entity for cutting off water, electricity, and gas, and refusing to condemn the Zionist entity for targeting bakeries, hospitals, shelters, places of worship, journalists, and children (Hernandez). How can we as workers, students, and people of color “safely talk about these issues” when our college misrepresents the issue of Palestinian liberation (Hernandez). 

Goucher claims to “[call] for proportionate and responsible responses” but only groups one side as terrorists, reducing the conflict into terrorists versus Israel, and refuses to condemn the state terrorism of Israel (Hernandez). 

Goucher calls for “social justice… for an end to violence” but fails to contextualize what it means for Indigenous people across our America and across the world to resist colonization (Hernandez). Álvaro Garcia Linera, former Vice President of Bolivia and Indigenist scholar, guides us arguing that “everything sprouts from and inevitably returns to the Indian: wealth, power, colonialism and the republic are different names given to the confiscation of the creative powers that emanate from Indian muscles and minds (2014 [1998]: 145). We people of color won’t let the Palestinian people suffer, we will not let them die; we stand committed to their liberation and through historical memory understand the context in which they find themselves. 

We agree with Goucher in that “ultimately, social justice requires us to call out power and oppression in all of the ways it exists” (Hernandez). We look to dissolve the colonial narrative and revindicate the Indigenous narrative. 

We: Postulate the community and its rebellion as a basis for illuminating that which is called indigenous… with communal rebellion, the entire past becomes actively concentrated in the present but unlike in times of quiet, when the subaltern past is projected as the subalternized present, now it is the accumulation of the rebellious past that is concentrated in the present in order to overcome past docility… the future is seen, at last, as the extraordinary invention of a common will that flees without shame from all prescribed routes, recognizing itself in this audacity as its own sovereign maker (Linera 2014 [1998]: 156). 

For social justice to be properly engaged with the fragmentation that is ordered on the life of Palestinian people must be negated. Social justice is, for the Indigenous people of the world, the ability to reinstate communal patterns of quotidian life, i.e., social reproduction or national-Indigenous self-determination). 

Goucher continues to skirt historical narratives arguing that we must pursue a fictional land in which “injustices are met head on with action and difficult dialogues” (Hernandez). Have we ever seen a dialogue between a national liberation movement and the colonial power? Or as Engels famously put, “have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution” (1978 [1872]: 733). We reject completely this “conversations between the sword and the neck” (Kanafani 2016 [1970]). A dialogue can only be carried out when both sides have met each other in a neutral position or when one side is ready for capitulation. National liberation movements do not exist in the realm of wanton violence, they aim to carry out a concrete political goal and their means cannot be “considered in isolation from their purpose” (von Clausewitz 1976: 87). 

CREI hilariously inserts itself within the struggles of Baltimore claiming that they “have a role to play [in] setting the tone for our community” (Hernandez). Despite this they refuse to condemn the genocidal narrative coming out of the Zionist entity. The Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, headed by Meir Ben Shabbat former National Security Advisor to Netanyahu, published a paper arguing that the current crisis presents “a unique and rare opportunity” for the “relocation and final settlement of the entire Gaza population” (Ofir 2023). The movements such as the Baltimore Bloc, not bourgeoisie institutions, that arose out of the 2015 uprising in Baltimore have supported the Palestinian resistance to the hilt. The people’s movements in Baltimore and beyond are setting the tone for us, not the fraudulent institutions of the masters. The people present real guidance for us as student and labor organizers. 

We recognize the continuous demonization of national liberation struggles across the globe by institutions within the strategic territory of white Euro-America, CREI finds itself firmly located in this camp. We won’t forget what the Euro-American world said about the FLN in Algeria, the NLF in Vietnam, Tupac Amaru in Peru, and the Armée Indigène in Haiti. In Peru, the production of revolutionary art by Quechua people reminds us of the position in which we find ourselves now, “manañan muspaykuchu ni puñuykuchu kunanqa allintam rikchariyku” which means “we are no longer delirious or asleep. Now we begin to fully awaken” (Valencia N.d.: 114). 

By Sebastian Mendoza ‘24

REFERENCES

Engels, Fredrick. 1978 [1872]. “On Authority.” Pp. 730-33 in Marx-Engels Reader, New York: W.W. Norton and Co. 

Hernandez, Juan M. E-mail message to student body, Oct 24 2023. 

Kanafani, Ghassan. 2016 [1970]. “A conversation between the sword and the neck- Ghassan Kanafani.” Oct 23. Video, 1:50. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHgZdCJOUAk.

Linera, Álvaro Garcia. 2014 [1998]. “The Colonial Narrative and the Communal Narrative.” Pp. 145-58 in Plebian Power, Chicago: Haymarket Books. 

Ofir, Johnathan. 2023. “Israel think tank lays out a blueprint for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza.” Mondoweiss, Oct 23. Retrieved Oct 24, 2023 (https://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/israeli-think-tank-lays-out-a-blueprint-for-the-complete-ethnic-cleansing-of-gaza/).

Valencia Espinosa, Abraham. N.d. “Las batallas de Rumitaqe” Pp. 112-14 in Rebeliones indígenas quechuas y aymaras, Cusco: Centro de Estudios Andinos. 

von Clausewitz, Carl. 1976 [1832]. On War. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

Disclaimer: This piece was published as a student’s op-ed submission. The Quindecim is a space for all students within the Goucher community to express their views and beliefs. These pieces are released in the name of journalistic integrity and not in an attempt to antagonize or reflect the institution of Goucher as a whole.

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