Gaza in Context Teach-In opens conversation about Palestine

UWT’s community Teach-In: Gaza in Context was a moving and empowering talk, sharing Palestinian culture and experience.

On April 18, faculty from UWT’s Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs department held UWT’s community Teach-In: Gaza in Context, a talk about Palestinians and the current state of the Middle East. I think that this is important now more than ever as things continue to worsen in Palestine since October 7 and student activists continue to be silenced across the country, as seen recently at Columbia University.  

There were two speakers that I had a chance to listen to while I was there, Dr. Sangeetha “Ila” Ravichandran and Dr. Etga Ugur. Both had amazing presentations prepared that beautifully illustrated the current lives of Palestinians, their history and their culture which made the talk that much more moving and empowering.  

Dr. Ravichandran shared a video called “I am from Palestine” which depicts the story of a little girl from Palestine who does not see her homeland on the map. This video captured the impacts of displacement and colonization, focusing specifically on Palestine and Israel. It also explores Palestinian culture and the rich history that it holds.  

Dr. Ugur’s presentation focused more on the political aspects of this issue. One point that I found interesting was the use of “the Middle East has always had conflict” as an excuse for violent actions and war. Just because something has happened a lot historically, does not make it right. Would you jump off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge if others had done so? 

This argument also fails to recognize why there has always been conflict in the Middle East. Many conflicts are instigated by Western powers. The Afghanistan and Iraq war are both examples of this.  

After Dr. Ravichandran and Dr. Ugur’s presentations, everyone had a chance to discuss and ask questions. Every table erupted into lively conversation adding to the presentation’s content. This was an amazing discussion about Palestinian history and culture. I learned so much and enjoyed having that opportunity. Events like this represent a crucial step in expanding the conversations about Palestine on university campuses. 

A Palestinian flag waving behind a tree. Photo by Pok Rie.

Featured Image, Gaza In-Context Teach-In, taken by Celia Williams.