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21 June, 2024
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Our voices can make a difference

Our voices hold the power to effect change, whether it's through student protests against the Israeli-Hamas conflict in the US or demonstrations against the decades long division of Cyprus



By Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides

On campuses across the US, a powerful movement is underway. Students are standing up and saying "enough" to the fighting between Israel and Hamas. It's not just talk either - they're protesting, hunger striking, and even camping out to make our voices heard. I have never been so proud to be an American and a Bruin!

Since the harrowing events of October 7th, where Hamas launched an attack met with Israel's retaliatory strikes, students across the nation have risen in solidarity. Their protests have taken various forms - rallies, sit-ins, hunger strikes, and encampments - all demanding their universities to divest from Israeli companies and those supplying the Israeli military, echoing the fervor of past movements for change.

This groundswell of activism mirrors the historic protests of the 1960s against the Vietnam War, signaling a generational commitment to speaking out against injustice. At its heart lies a collective plea for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the cycle of violence that has plagued the region for decades.

The scenes of destruction in Gaza, reminiscent of past atrocities, stir deep emotions within me. The indiscriminate loss of life, the leveling of communities, and the anguish of innocent civilians speak to the urgent need for a resolution. In this regard, the Israel-Hamas conflict finds parallels with the enduring struggle for peace in Cyprus.

Much like the protracted conflict in the Middle East, the Cyprus problem has simmered for decades, dividing communities and perpetuating cycles of violence. The longing for a just resolution, for a future where both sides can coexist in harmony, resonates across borders and generations.  And it has to happen NOW!

In both cases, the path to peace requires a commitment to dialogue and diplomacy. It necessitates a recognition of the humanity and rights of all involved, transcending political divides and historical grievances. Just as students in the United States demand divestment as a tangible step towards change, so too must international stakeholders actively engage in constructive dialogue to address the root causes of conflict.

Being a Bruin fills me with pride, not only for our tradition of academic excellence but also for our unwavering commitment to social justice. The spirit of activism that animates our campus reflects a broader truth - that change begins with individuals willing to speak truth to power, regardless of the challenges they face.

Cyprus  |  World  |  USA  |  opinion

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