What’s happening in the Middle East, the Israel-Hamas War, weighs heavy in the hearts of many. It is a vulnerable and tumultuous time. We want to acknowledge the tremendous suffering and introspection of our student body and the world.
On Oct. 7, Hamas, a militant group governing Gaza, shockingly attacked southern Israel. BBC News reported more than 1,400 people were killed and upwards of 200 hostages were taken. In retaliation, close to 2,700 people in Gaza have died from Israeli air strikes.
Conflict and cynicism continue to escalate both overseas and domestically, as a humanitarian crisis unfolds internationally and hate crimes become a looming threat at home.
There is a bitter, complex sociopolitical history that culminates in the atrocities we see today, with many different factions, and even individuals, with their own nuanced views and emotions. And while these reactions are authentic and real, we must justify that there is never a rationale for the loss of innocent life.
The burden of these issues embeds itself across the Lehigh community in a myriad of ways: anger, resentment, grief, fear, disparity and hopelessness.
War creates an emotional burden beyond its location. When people are terrified, the risk of dehumanization is heightened. Despite the pain and divisiveness, it’s essential that empathy is at the forefront of our discussions.
And while there is complexity in the events unfolding in the Middle East and how they affect people in our community, this shouldn’t discourage anyone from learning beyond what they see in their immediate social media or news feeds nor disincentivize asking meaningful questions to others and in self-reflection.
As students, we should be empowered to learn, emote and voice ourselves without crushing social pressure or fear of alienation. In fact, doing so is the only way to keep the palpable, uncomfortable silence of sensitive subjects at bay.
As a student-run news organization, our goal is to encourage open, active and safe dialogues between individuals and groups.
We want to make clear to our readers that The Brown and White is an independent student news organization under no obligation to have content reviewed or influenced by any office of Lehigh University. Our reporting and independent opinions do not reflect the university or the members of our staff as a whole.
As burgeoning journalists, our duties are to serve and support the stakeholders of our community in a responsible, ethical way. It is not in our interest to exploit pain or push political agendas — instead, we aim to report stories that emphasize humanity, not identity or religion.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the ongoing violence and we know this is still not enough to right any wrongs or cure any anguish. We condemn mass murder, no matter who is fallen or to blame. We support human rights and international law, especially to protect innocent civilians.
It is essential in this moment of scrutiny that we at The Brown and White and as a campus community avoid generalizations, conflations and mutual exclusivities. Instead, we must embrace each other and both for productive healing and education.
The people of Israel and Gaza — and those in our community connected to them — can be supported without condoning crimes against one or the other.
Our imperative at The Brown and White is to look out for the best interest of the Lehigh community and to report on the happenings around us. Our reach is only so far, and our goal with this conflict, as we continue to work on our coverage, is to amplify voices who yearn to be heard here.
We hear you, we see you and we want the best for all of you at this turbulent time. No one deserves to be targeted, blamed or put at risk because of their identity.
Have conversations — even stepping outside of your comfort zone — and give yourself and others grace as we all navigate these traumatizing events.
It’s OK to be overwhelmed with the constant developments and inundation of information, but it is not OK to ignore tragic history in the making or its effect on our peers.
We think this extra level of care is one of the only ways our community can find more peace with ourselves and one another.