The gender studies and Black studies department stood in solidarity with those harmed by the violence unfolding in Palestine and Israel.
In a statement titled “Statement of Solidarity for Palestine,” Queen’s gender studies and Black studies department encouraged students to have open dialogues on the ways in which Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are fueled by the settler colonial system in Canada.
The statement expressed concern for the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, condemning all forms of violence and calling for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid access. The statement invited open dialogue without stripping those involved of their humanity.
The department posted the statement because the violence unfolding in Israel and Palestine aligns with their work as scholars who are committed to challenging colonialism. The statement aligns with the department’s mission to take an inclusive and intersectional approach to studying equity-deserving communities.
“We thought it was important to make a statement that reflects our work as feminists, as activists, and as scholars who are committed to challenging colonialism,” Sailaja Krishnamurti, gender studies and Black studies department head, said in an interview with The Journal.
The statement was approved unanimously in a department faculty meeting after hearing from Muslim and Palestinian students about how life has become more difficult, Krishnamurti said. According to Krishnamurti, people are traumatized, afraid, and unsure of who is helping them or where on campus they can feel safe.
“We have heard from Jewish students with many of the same kinds of concerns. We do recognize that harms where racism is the underlying factor are affecting everyone,” Krishnamurti said.
In the statement posted to their website and Instagram, the department acknowledged the pain felt by everyone affected by the war in the Middle East. The statement grieved the loss of life in both Palestine and Israel.
The statement denounced narratives surrounding Palestinians in the media, which included labelling them terrorists.
“These representations not only ignore but reinforce the decades-long violence against Palestinians. We oppose this colonial hierarchization of lives,” the statement read.
According to the statement, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are fueled by the settler colonial system in Canada, and position equity-deserving groups against each other. The statement urges communities to engage in multi-directional solidarity to challenge violence and oppression.
“Let us acknowledge that the people suffering the most, both here and elsewhere, are from these marginalized backgrounds and yet it is BIPOC collectives that are standing most bravely in solidarity,” the statement said.
The department called on the international community to do everything possible for an immediate ceasefire and to allow for the passage of humanitarian aid to affected civilians.
Krishnamurti encouraged the Queen’s community to have open dialogue on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. She told The Journal she’s observed heightened anxiety among everyone who is closely or distantly impacted.
“We know that there is a lot of hurt happening right now, from so many people. We really want to encourage open and honest communication,” Krishnamurti said.
The University didn’t provide comment on the gender studies and Black studies department’s statement in time for publication.
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