Stony Brook University Takes a Stand: Voices of Solidarity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict
By: Oluwatoyin Kupoluyi
The Israel-Palestine conflict has been a longstanding issue that has ignited passions and raised voices on a global scale. While the conflict may seem miles away from Stony Brook University’s campus it was brought to the forefront recently as students gathered in a peaceful demonstration to show solidarity with Palestine. On a Wednesday afternoon, a diverse group consisting of hundreds of students and faculty gathered in front of the Stony Brook Union to add their voices to the ongoing debate surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict. The event, organized by the Muslim Student Association advocating for peace, was aimed to raise awareness and promote open discussion about the issues at stake. The demonstration featured an array of signs, slogans, and guest speakers, reflecting the complexity of opinions surrounding the conflict. Participants held banners reading “Your Silence is Violence” and “Is an Israeli Child’s Life Worth More than A Palestinian Child’s Life”. One of the event organizers, who chose to remain anonymous for their own safety, explained different ways we can continue to help and educate others.
“Silence is compliance. So keep sharing on social media. Keep talking to your friends and family. Be more updated and educated on the situation.” Guest speakers at the event were students who shared their personal experiences and perspectives on the conflict. The gathering allowed for a range of voices to be heard, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue in addressing this complex and sensitive issue. One protest organizer and speaker shared with the rapidly growing crowd, “We will not be silenced by those who advocate for what is a blatant ethnic cleansing. These are not men and women you’re killing, these are children. And today we are the children of the mothers and fathers…” He goes on to share with the crowd the horrors happening in Palestine and the history of it. The peaceful nature of the protest was clear as participants engaged in dialogues with one another and shared their personal stories and perspectives on the conflict. A short prayer was even led at the beginning and end of the protest. Campus police were also present to ensure the safety of all attendees and to monitor the demonstration. Their presence was largely peaceful, intending to maintain order and prevent any potential disruptions. The protest served as a reminder that the Israel-Palestine conflict, although distant, continues to resonate with students even on a college campus. It highlighted the need for respectful discourse, understanding, and empathy to work toward a peaceful resolution to this global issue. As the protest came to an end, the participants dispersed, leaving behind signs and echoes of debate. The event was a powerful testament to the power of open dialogue and the willingness of students and community members to engage with global issues, even when far from the conflict itself. It remains to be seen whether such dialogues will contribute to lasting change in Palestine, but the commitment of the participants to dialogue is evident, and it stands as a hopeful symbol for future generations.