The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

‘What results isn’t a war, it’s a genocide’ says CCC student

Contra Costa College hosts a Palestine and Israel teach-in having hundreds of students and staff across the district attend

Hundreds of students and faculty from the Contra Costa Community College District came together last Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, to a Palestine and Israel “teach-in” held at Contra Costa College. 

Over 200 students and faculty in total registered for the event, and 123 of them attended in person at CCC. Both Los Medanos and Diablo Valley College had students attend the watch parties they were hosting at their campuses.

After multiple 4CD students and faculty invited the entire governing board at their last meeting, only Fernando Sandoval, the president of the board, was present via Zoom.

Kimberly Rogers, the president of Contra Costa College, welcomed the crowd and shared some words. 

“I applaud everyone for the willingness to come together for the unbearable situation in Gaza, where thousands of innocents have perished. Millions suffer and continue to do so as war ranges on. This teach-in is an opportunity for CCC and 4CD to showcase our values of inclusion, of diverse opinions and ideas, and freedom to pursue and fulfill educational goals in a safe respectful environment,” said Rogers.

According to Rogers, interim chancellor Mojdeh Mehdizadeh couldn’t make it to the event, but had some words she wanted to say to students and faculty who attended. 

“The war in Israel and Gaza is beyond tragic,” she said in a letter that Rogers read to the crowd. 

“Having opportunities to learn about our history is vital. It is also vital that we take the time to not just talk to one another, but listen to each other. Listen to the fears and anguish, to the anger and resentment, and to come from a place of empathy and understanding for all,”

“While we can’t necessarily change the tragedies of the war that are taking place, we can be the agents of local change via actions of kindness, caring, and compassion,” Mehdizadeh’s letter continued “We can try a different path for tomorrow by listening, building solidarity, and respecting each other. We can be the small beacon of hope for social justice in our communities.”

Muslim Student Association President Amoona Sharay made it known why she chose to have people write their names on their arms as they were walking in.

“We asked people to write their names on their arms. We wanted to do this to show you what is currently happening in Gaza,” Sharay said “Families have been writing their names on their arms, writing their children’s names on their arms. So that if they are killed –if they die – they can still be identified and recognized as a person. So that if they are bombed and their bodies are dismembered, they can still know who that body part belongs to.”

Sharay also mentioned that she hopes that this teach-in, not only educates students and faculty, but gains a sense of responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless and advocate for the powerless. 

Students were also given the chance to speak. Sophie a 15-year-old Contra Costa Middle College student and member of the Muslim Student Association, discussed the way the media has been portraying the issue with biased language and imbalances between Gaza and Israel in size, population, and military. 

“The way it is painted in the media here labels this ongoing genocide as the Isarael-Hamas war. This implies that there is equal fighting from both sides when that is clearly impossible by the facts that I have been stating. When one side is more powerful and they are executing all that power on a densely populated region where half of the population are children,” said Sophie “But what results is a genocide, not a war,”

Contra Costa College humanities and philosophy professor Asad Kabir lectured the crowd with the historical background and timeline of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

“There has been a bloody story of conflict between Palestine and Israel since 1917. The culmination of this conflict is seen in the mass bombardment of the Gaza Strip after Hamas on the [Oct. 7, 2023] attacked Israel and killed, now they say, 1,200 civilians and soldiers in Israel and took about 250 hostages. In 37 days, Israel has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, 4,500 of them children,” said Kabir.

Clyde Leland, a Jewish voice for peace member, had the chance to discuss that any criticism against Israel that has been going around the media recently isn’t anti-semitic. 

“It is not anti-semitic to condemn ethnic cleansing. it is not anti-Semitic to condemn collective punishment. It is not anti-semitic to condemn the bombing of hospitals, mosques, schools, and caravans of refugees, all of those things are happening. Those who say that it is anti-Semitic won’t acknowledge that then it would be islamophobia to condemn what happened on October 7th and it is not islamophobia to condemn what happened on October 7th. What happened on October 7th was brutal terrorism and should be condemned,” stated Leland.

In honor of National Human Rights Day, the 4CD faculty, staff, and students will host a Zoom Palestine and Israel teach-in on Friday, December 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For those who are interested in attending, you can register at tinyurl.com/4CDPalestineIsraelDeepDive.

 

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