When dozens of students took over a building in the Columbia University in NYmany remembered the protests for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in 1968. The déjà vu, with barricades at the entrances and slogans against the government of USAdisappeared as soon as they hung a Palestinian flag in a window and chanted “Palestine free”. The police evicted them, as has happened in Atlanta, Michigan, Texas and other campuses. There were several arrests. The debate on freedom of expression at the expense of academic freedom remained floating in the air.

From Vietnam Until apartheid and the murder of George Floyd, American universities have been the scene of heated discussions on contemporary issues. Not only among students. This time, the word woke crept into the language. Those who are not woke “have to be reactionaries,” explains the philosopher Susan Neiman in his book Left is not woke. “What unites them is the principle of tribalism itself: you will only truly connect with those who belong to your clan and you need not maintain deep commitments to anyone else,” he adds. Intolerance prevails.

The protests at the universities of USA They broke out in response to Israel’s retaliation in the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 34,000 Palestinians dead in almost seven months, following the attack in which Hamas killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 250. A zero-sum game in which Joe Biden, determined to be re-elected in November, could not persuade Benjamin Netanyahu, nostalgic for Donald Trump’s government, about his vain eagerness to liquidate Hamas and rescue the Israeli hostages without paying attention to the civilian victims.

“Stay woke,” the lyrics said, a symbol of resistance against social injustice.

Anti-Semitism, although the word Semitic includes Hebrews and Arabs, and Islamophobia, although not all Arabs are Muslims, come together in North American universities. It is not now a question of long-haired rebels and short-haired conservatives as in the sixties, but, among other nuances, of non-Jewish students against Jewish peers in a country polarized even by the taste of ice cream. In the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) They fought with punches, pushes and kicks.

Woke comes from the verb wake. It means waking up. The first time that word was popularized was in a song by the blues singer Lead Belly titled Scottsboro Boys. It was dedicated to nine black teenagers accused of raping white women in Arkansas in 1931. Their executions were prevented after years of international protests against the Communist Party While the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) She was reluctant to get involved. “Stay woke,” said the lyrics, a symbol of resistance against social injustice.

The movement gained relevance with Black Lives Matter, committed to the fight against police brutality against Afro-descendants since the Michael Brown case, shot in 2014. Anti-racism, feminism, the rights of transsexuals and other pending issues were added to a contradictory agenda which, in black and white, now puts Hamas like a choir of angels facing an invader, Israel, who exceeded his revenge for the death and hardship of his people. Something that no one doubts, as well as Netanyahu’s political alibi to escape domestic condemnations, but it does not merit the defense of terrorism.

We, the woke, are the solution and you, the antiwoke, are the problem, even though what we defend, like Hamas, exercises what we despise.

Far from the calling of the Jamaican preacher, journalist and businessman Marcus Garvey en 1923: “Wake up, Ethiopia! Wake up, Africa! (Wake upEthiopia! Wake up, Africa!)”. In 1962, the American novelist William Melvin published in The New York Times the article If you’re woken, you dig it. He put in black and white the injustices suffered by African Americans. Martin Luther King said in his 1965 speech at the Oberlin Collegeof Ohio, that new graduates had to stay “awake.” It was the revolution of that moment, praised by Vietnamthe hippie movement and imagination to power.

Quoted by him Capitolthe president of the Columbia University, Nemat Shafik, an Egyptian economist, took a strong stance against anti-Semitism. He omitted freedom of expression, which, in some ways, rubs shoulders with academic freedom. In December, similar hearings led to the resignations of university presidents Harvard and of Pennsylvania, also surrounded by protests. The struggle is part of a campaign by Republicans to prevent anti-Semitism in the schools.

The word woke came to be considered an insult by conservatives. They interpret it as a cancel culture. We, the woke, are the solution and you, the antiwoke, are the problem, no matter what we defend, such as Hamas, exercise what we despise: racism, xenophobia and homophobia. Umbrella term, woke, for the social causes of a progressive fringe that goes against the correctness of the political center. Biblical good and evil in the context of Middle Eastobserved from a distance with a spyglass cracked by the social and political fissure of his own country.

Note: this is an article republished from the media “El Interin” through a cooperation agreement between both parties for the dissemination of journalistic content. Original link.

Jorge Elías is a prominent Argentine journalist specializing in international politics and international relations. He was a correspondent in the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as has vast experience in investigations related to international politics. He is also a member of the Institute of International Politics of the National Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and a consulting member of the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI).

Source: https://reporteasia.com/opinion/2024/05/06/cultura-cancelacion/

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