Resisting the Erasure: Scholasticide and the Struggle for Palestinian Freedom - Galilee Foundation

Resisting the Erasure: Scholasticide and the Struggle for Palestinian Freedom

On Monday 24th June 2024 the Galilee Foundation, in partnership with Friends of Birzeit University (FOBZU) and the British Palestinian Committee, brought together a panel of Palestinian academics at the Frontline Club in London to discuss the theme of “Resisting the Erasure: Scholasticide and the Struggle for Palestinian Freedom.” The conversation centred around resisting systemic efforts to erase Palestinian collective life, and featured contributions from Dr Ahmed Abu Shaban, Dean and Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Al Azhar University (Gaza), Dr Zahira Haser, Associate Professor at the University of Sussex Business School, Dr Abdel Razzaq Takriti, historian of anticolonialism, revolutions, and state formation in the modern Arab world, and Dr Sara Husseini, Director of the British Palestinian Committee.

The event was moderated by the Galilee Foundation’s Managing Director Maha Al Farra, and served as a powerful testament to the resilience of the people of Gaza, many of whom continue to register for university courses, study from their tents, or deliver lectures despite receiving no salary since 7th October. It highlighted the fact that civic responsibility is alive and well in Gaza – perhaps more than ever before – and outlined the resilience of the people of Gaza, with recent efforts to resume academic operations having seen an enrolment of 10,000 students in Gaza, all of whom are accessing content remotely through their phones even in the face of a lack of basic necessities such as food, water and safety.

Panellists urged those supporting education in Gaza to channel support through Gazan universities and academic institutions, rather than enabling the decomposition of academic institutions and therefore facilitating what Karma Nabulsi has termed Israel’s scholasticide – a term that refers to the systematic deconstruction of education institutions, and their elimination since 7th October. Israel’s deliberate targeting of Gaza’s educational infrastructure must be countered.

Panellists called for coordinated efforts allowing scholars from across the world to make their educational content available through distance learning, and pointed to the newly-established Emergency Committee of Gazan universities that seeks to lead such efforts. It was noted that supporting tuition fees for students would enable academic staff in Gaza to get paid again.

With at least 85,000 across Gaza students having had to suspend their university studies since 7th October, a lack of income for approximately 4,500 faculty members and staff, and total destruction of the infrastructure of all 12 of Gaza’s universities, the international community must not be afraid to speak out for colleagues in Gaza, and must continue to decry the scholasticide that is unfolding therein. The need to support Palestinian academic institutions has never been more great.

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