The Conflict of Language

By Salina Nasir

Because this situation has religious and cultural ties, I would like to approach it with a disclaimer: I stand in solidarity with all oppressed people, everywhere, irrespective of the color of their skin or the beliefs in their hearts. I side with humanity.

Prior to the most recent ceasefire in Gaza, my heart bled for the 2,143 deceased Palestinian people and the 72 Israelis.

When the sun sinks below the horizon at dusk, it is key to have one maxim echo through our minds and our hearts: all human life is precious.

But sadly, this truism has been eclipsed by the way society explains such a sensitive issue. Essential facts are left in the shadows, while caustic hate-speech and ignorance bask in the light.

The biggest misconception we all so often contribute to lies in the way we describe the ongoingsituationin Palestine. It concerns the language we use and the global discourse that wehave adopted to explain the occupation.

My point in case is simple: this is not a conflict, and it is both absurd and incongruous to define it as such.

As Ferrari Sheppard of Stop Being Famous most eloquently stated after his trip to the occupied lands: “There is no Palestinian-Israeli conflict; there is only oppression.”

Why is it, then, that society perpetually attempts to use dialogue that equates the oppressor with the resistors?

Gaza is, by Noam Chomsky’s definition, the largest open-air prison in the world.

A roughly 140-square-mile strip, Gaza houses over one million civilians who are exposed to daily brutality and arbitrary punishment, including a cruel calorie-count restriction and an extremely limited water supply.

The children living in Gaza measure their ages by the number of wars they have survived.

Most heart wrenching, however, is the sheer violence against the Palestinian people that is almost always masked or justified by Israeli public relations.

The Palestinians cry, but their cries are merely silenced by the roar of missiles coming from across the border.

The media’s lingo perverted the reality of the situation during this summer’s war on Gaza, as prominent news outlets likened Palestine’s defense mechanisms to those of Israel’s.

Let’s get one thing right: rockets are notsynonymouswith missiles.

Both may be harmful, but a missile is a guided, explosive weapon used by military operations during times of war, and a rocket is much less sophisticated.

Israel’s missiles are purportedly a response to Hamas’ rockets, but this is both a disproportionate and brutal rejoinder.

You can’t expect a conflict between a state with advanced military superiority and another state with absolutely no military at all. That’s not a conflict, but a massacre.

I began with a disclaimer, so I consider it best to reiterate it and conclude with one as well, since this topic is especially controversial on campus. I am not writing this column to boast my affinity for Palestine, but rather to express my unbounded support for all of humankind.

I believe in peace. I supportcoexistence. I advocate for a people’sright to return to their home. And I utterly and irrevocablycondemn illegal occupation and strictblockades, the use of excessive violence and force, the illegal annexation of land and continual harassment withimpunity.

Salina Nasir

Michael Torres

Salina Nasir

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