May 6, 2024

“they now believe the adults don’t care to understand.”


The above is excerpted from a Columbia professor/instructor's anonymous response to the question, “What are your students learning from all this?”. In full:
They continue to be reminded that older generations do not understand the violent world they’ve grown up in. Furthermore, they now believe the adults don’t care to understand.

For anyone curious about what truly happened and is happening at Columbia, I would urge you to read this special report from the undergraduate journalists at Columbia’s newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator. The report consists of eye-opening and honest testimony from the different stakeholders on campus right now, affected by and affecting a protest that was and is being watched around the world.
The past two weeks have been equal parts horrifying and inspiring for those of us with a Columbia affiliation, and it is thanks to the clear-eyed student journalists on campus that we know what's really been happening. These brave, thoughtful undergrads have time and time again corrected and fact-checked mainstream misinformation, and we are all the better for it. 

And, to address the quote from the anonymous Professor above, I think the Prof. is absolutely correct in their assessment (and young people are validating this takeaway over and over again). But, if I could communicate anything to the student protestors, it is that that are huge numbers of adults around the world who see, are inspired, and galvanized by your moral clarity. 
I was speaking to a Taiwanese person this week about what they think of what's happening in Gaza, and she said carefully and deliberately: 
Taiwan has historically taken the side of Israel…But, this has become about humanity...

Even for a person in a country that feels existentially threatened;
a person in a country that feels reliant on US military might;
a person who feels forced to have solidarity with other countries receiving aid from the US.
Even for them, the moral case is becoming incredibly clear and urgent.

This may be anecdotal and just the perspective of one person, but it was promising to hear this shift in perspective. And I say the shift is happening in large part because of the young protestors and journalists who are using every resource, platform, institution they have access to to shed light on and demand an end to the ways our country and institutions are directly funding and supporting atrocities in Gaza.


As a note, the Spectator is an independent non-profit with no financial ties to Columbia. It would be a good idea to donate if you feel inspired by their journalism:

The same goes for the student radio WKCR, who provided outstanding live coverage of the encampments and NYPD raid. However, their donate link looks like it goes thru the university's official fundraising channels. A suggestion I've seen is to email WKCR and send money directly to whoever responds.