Harvard Graduation Ceremony Witnesses Emphasis on Gaza

Harvard Graduation Ceremony Witnesses Emphasis on Gaza

Students gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza. (Photo: Getty)

Shruthi Kumar, a graduate of Harvard University, expressed her deep disappointment at the attitude of the university administration, which denied diplomas to some students who showed solidarity with Gaza.

Speaking at the university’s graduation ceremony, Kumar went beyond the text she was given and criticized the university administration’s stance on Gaza, Anadolu Agency reported.

Kumar, who is of South Asian origin, noted that their messages of freedom of expression and solidarity with Gaza were penalized shortly before graduation, saying: “I am deeply disappointed by the intolerance for freedom of speech and the right to civil disobedience on campus.

“The students had spoken. The faculty had spoken.”

“Harvard, do you hear us?” she further said, receiving a standing ovation.

In her original speech, which was titled “The Power of Not Knowing,” Kumar said: “Now, we are in a moment of intense division and disagreement in our community over the events in Gaza. I see pain, uncertainty, and unrest across campus. It’s now, in a moment like this, that the power of ‘not knowing’ becomes critical.”

“Maybe we don’t know what it’s like to be ethnically targeted. Maybe we don’t know what it’s like to come face to face with violence and death. But, we don’t have to know,” she added.

“Solidarity is not dependent on what we know, because ‘not knowing’ is an ethical stance. It creates space for empathy, solidarity, and a willingness to listen,” she said.

Harvard was among the many universities that witnessed pro-Palestine demonstrations.

Pro-Palestinian students who set up a camp on the campus of Harvard University in the US state of Massachusetts in response to Israel’s attacks continued their solidarity camp with Gaza for more than three weeks.

At least 20 students who supported the Gaza solidarity camp were suspended by the Harvard administration and more than 60 students were disciplined.

The Harvard administration announced that it would not give diplomas to 13 students who took part in pro-Palestine demonstrations.

Over 35,900 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and over 80,600 others injured since October following an attack by Hamas.

More than seven months into the conflict, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million displaced Palestinians had sought refuge.

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