Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge our hesitation in engaging in this conversation tonight. The current repression in Palestine makes everything seem wrong and inappropriate. However, after discussions with numerous friends and colleagues at Columbia, we’ve decided to proceed to honor the struggles of individuals and groups against occupation, colonialism, and apartheid in Palestine.
We find ourselves in an unprecedented assault on Palestinians, marked by a highly dangerous escalation led by the USA government, coupled with a suppression of critical voices in Western institutions. Prior to our talk tonight, we were advised to avoid using terms like “ceasefire” or “peace” as they are considered controversial. The term “decolonization”, the title of tonight’s gathering is even banned on some social media platforms, curricula, and cultural institutions.