“I chose journalism so I could be close to the people. It might not be easy to change the reality, but at least I was able to communicate their voice to the world.”
On Saturday May 21, 2022, at our graduation from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, we students from the Masters of Arab Studies program at Georgetown University honored the legacy of Palestinian martyr, journalist, and hero Shireen Abu Akleh, who was murdered by the Israeli military only ten days prior. We displayed her photo and donned the symbolic Palestinian keffiyeh in her honor.
Our silent expression of solidarity with Shireen Abu Akleh and the people of Palestine has been viewed by millions of people around the world. We release this statement to explicate our demands: we demand an independent investigation into the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh, and we demand that the United States halt its annual military funding of $3.8 billion for the criminal state of Israel. The Israeli military routinely violates human rights and international law. Israel continues to murder, maim, and imprison Palestinians. The military funding given to the state of Israel by the United States is unacceptable. We will continue to fight until sanctions are placed on Israel.
At the end of commencement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken approached our cohort and said: “I see you. I hear you.” He also claimed that the United States is “committed to finding the truth” regarding Shireen’s murder. We reject the pretense that the truth still needs to be found. We know that the Israeli military is responsible for Shireen’s death, and an independent investigation per the request of the Abu Akleh family is necessary to establish this fact on the global legal record. Secretary Blinken; if you really hear us, then hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
More importantly, we urge the millions of people who have witnessed our action to do their part to fight for justice in Palestine. We urge you to adhere to the principles of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement. Earlier this year, we at Georgetown University were successful in divesting $30,000 in graduate student funding toward a trip to the apartheid state of Israel with the company, itrek. We know that these efforts are small in size, but small streams make great rivers. We urge you to educate those around you on Palestine. We urge you to hold your local governments accountable. We urge you to follow the lead of Palestinian grassroots organizations. We urge you to keep talking about Palestine and to keep sharing the news of what’s happening on the ground whenever and wherever you can. We urge you to stand up for what is right.
Justice for Shireen. Justice for Palestine.
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