Written by Student Rights on 22 November 2012 at 12pm

Student Voice: A Black and White Rainbow

Following yesterdays ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, LSE student Rachel Bleetman reflects on how the conflict has affected activism on the UK’s university campuses. All views are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of Student Rights...

All the scholarly debate and intellectual argument surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict is conveniently thrown aside at a time like this. It suddenly becomes acceptable for terms such as ‘massacre’, ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ to be thrown around.

We separate into ‘them’ and ‘us’ and our once level-headed opinions become polarised into the extreme sides of the spectrum. What happened to debate? What happened to moderation? And most of all, what happened to the concept of peace?

Many Palestine and Israel Societies across campuses in the UK and abroad have decided to take up their defence, and even their offence during such a tragic time. 

Whilst people run to their nearest bomb shelter and fear putting their children to bed at night, we students prefer to focus on the statistic jousting, article hunting, testimonial reading aspect of the conflict: totally neglecting peace as the one and only solution to what is going on.

Whilst the idea of protesting against Israel and Hamas respectively may ‘raise awareness’ of each side, all we are doing is spreading these polarised opinions and perpetuating the already entrenched conflict.

The real problem here is not defining this conflict in terms of ‘victim’ and ‘oppressor’ because we could do that until the cows come home. The problem here is finding a solution, a solution with compromise, with sacrifices, and most of all with permanence.

Something that will stick, something that will start to heal the wounds we are only deepening, and something that will enable the individuals on both sides to start to rebuild their lives in peace, because it is those individuals that really matter.

In no other place in the world will you find this hotbed of activism such as that found on university campus. The ‘we need to fix the world’ student outlook coupled with the desire to outdo the other guys who also want to ‘fix the world’ is what makes campuses across the globe so admirably passionate, and at the same time, lamentable.

Instead of us all fixing the world as a united generation, we want to further divide the world into the already entrenched conflicts by taking up our position on a black and white scale of extremism.