Antiwar Protestors not Antisemitic Protestors

How we name things matter. My husband once had a student named Vodka, her parents’s nod to her conception. I don’t know what happened to Vodka but that name was a burdensome thing to her during her school years. She became the focus of much mockery simply because of her name.

Recently, I overheard a young biracial girl tell a friend that another girl had called her the N-word. “Did you report her?” I asked.

“No,” she replied wearily. “It’s happened so many times and nobody does anything.”

“Do you tell your parents?”

“Yes. My mom goes to the school all the time but it doesn’t do any good.”

“Even so, you have to report it,” I urged. “Even it it happens 200 times, you have to report it. Otherwise they get away with it and they silence you. You can’t let them silence you.”

Silencing others is always the goal of any bully. It is their kryptonite. The more they can silence others, the more empowered they become.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve listened as Media has labeled the protests on university campuses as “Pro-Palestinian” and “AntiSemitic”. And for the most part, the public have accepted these labels without batting an eye. I keep saying it because it is so damn true: The first causality of war is truth. Media helps kill truth by the labels they attach to movements.

I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War, perhaps because it forever altered the course of my life. What I also remember with sobering clarity is the disdain and vitriol the “older” generation displayed toward those uni students. I remember the way police beat those students. I remember how the National Guard shot some dead at Kent State. These were the news clips on replay from my growing up years. The older generation said those students needed to be locked up, put in their place, taught a thing or two. Godless Hippies and Draft-Dodgers didn’t deserve to live in America. The chants of Make Love Not War were met with whacks from a police baton.

It used to be that whenever I overheard people bemoaing the condition of society, I’d retort Where were you in the 1960s? But then Trump appeared and instigated a coup on the Capitol.

What Media is overlooking or forgetting is that it was those student protests of the 60s and 70s that brought an end to America’s war in Vietnam. Who knows how long that wrongheaded war would have gone on were it not for the aptly named “Antiwar protestors.”

And that is exactly how these students across America’s campuses should be labeled today – Antiwar Protestors.

The problem is that doesn’t serve the purpose of keeping audiences ginned up. Rage drives online media. Nothing stirs up click-bait like inflammatory rhetoric. Nothing brings in revenue to tech companies and media corps like pitting people against one another through labels.

Of course that ditty we learned about sticks and stones not breaking bones was utter bullpuckey. Name-calling leads to deaths, sometimes genocides.

I read a post earlier today of a mom bemoaning that her child’s graduation from uni had been cancelled because of these student protestors. I wondered if she understood that what these students are doing is of critical import to Palestinian and Israeli children. Her child will miss their college graduation. Thousands of children have been slaughtered by Hamas and Netanyahu. Thousands more are starving to death. Thousands more are at risk of being slaughtered.

I applaud these Anitwar Protestors. President Biden ought to follow Senator Bernie Sanders’s lead and call out Netanyahu for conducting a genocide on Palestinians. Yes, Hamas has blood on their hands, but so does Netanyahu, and so do Americans who are providing the weaponry with which these people are being slaughtered.

We should be proud of these university students. Joe Scarborough is wrong when he condemns them. It may be that their are forces at play here that we know nothing bout – Russians, Chinese, others who are using media to sow disinformation, to further divide what used to be the United States of America, but most certainly is no longer. We should all be in the streets calling for an end to this warring.

I condemn all those who seek to sow seeds of hatred here at home and abroad. I applaud these anitwar protestors for risking jobs and educations and freedoms to speak on behalf of children who have no voice in the matter but whose blood soils the grounds considered Holy by both Palestinians and Israelis.

Don’t let them silence you.

Continue the good fight. Speak up for those whose voices have already fallen silent.

And Media, Do Better. Stop sowing division. The words you use matters.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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