I am sure that by now, you have heard about the war in Israel and Palestine. On Saturday, Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Israel and crossed over the border from Gaza, killing hundreds including many civilians, and taking hostages of all ages. Israel responded by declaring war, bombing hundreds of targets, killing hundreds including many civilians, and cutting electricity and water to the over two million residents of the Gaza Strip. The fighting is ongoing as I write these words. But I am not writing today to explain what has led to this violence, nor to present a solution to it. These are important questions, but today what I want is to condemn this violence and to address the way that this swell of violence and suffering is affecting the members of our Antioch learning community.
I know that many of you have personal connections to Israel and Palestine, be it through your own background or through your family members, friends, and colleagues. It is a terrible thing to see a place that you are connected with engulfed by war, and to see people you love face suffering and death. If you are in this circumstance, please know that you have my sympathy and that of our entire university. We hope for your safety and the safety of those you care about, and we pray and work for peace.
Even for those of us without direct connections to this part of the world, there is pain in hearing stories of atrocities, of the murder of civilians, and of widespread human misery. And there is justified fear that this war will spiral outward, coming to involve other countries, leading to even greater suffering. Much of this, unfortunately, is beyond our control as individuals. For now, I will encourage you to address your fears and anxieties by taking action in the areas where you do have influence. Check on the well-being of your neighbors and friends who may be worried or grieving. Work to support your communities. And if you want to make an immediate impact in lessening suffering in Palestine and Israel, and can afford to, consider donating to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Whatever you do, I hope that you know, in this moment, that you are not alone.