UT Graduate Students Condemn the destruction of Lebanon sign now

We the students at the Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin condemn the indiscriminate bombardment and invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli military. Several of our departmental colleagues are stranded in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon and we are extremely concerned for their safety and wellbeing as well as the safety and well being of their families, friends and loved ones, and of all Lebanese civilians. As Lebanese civilian casualties continue to mount, Israel with the full support of the U.S. government has announced its intention to escalate the indiscriminate bombardment of cities, villages, roads and bridges in Lebanon. We reject the notion that the actions of Hezbollah and their presence in Lebanon or indeed any other circumstance--could possibly justify such extensive violence against civilian targets.

So far at least 380 people have been killed by Israeli bombardment, 50\% of whom are children and 35\% women. We are moved by a sense of extreme urgency to act against this deliberate targeting of civilians by a powerful military aided and supported by our own government. At the moment entire villages, and cities face imminent destruction and millions of people are being forced to leave their homes, villages and towns to seek shelter and refuge even as Israeli missiles target roads, bridges, gas stations and even convoys of refugees. Reports of mass funerals for civilians as well as the use of banned incendiary weapons and fuel-air explosives by the Israeli military are emerging from Lebanon. The Lebanese people are being isolated from the rest of the world as a result of the Israeli blockade by sea, air and land. The claim that Israel is merely "defending" its interests through such heinously violent acts is beyond absurd considering that this brutal campaign of indiscriminate bombardment amounts to nothing less than collective punishment, a tactic banned by the Geneva Convention.

We urge the U.S. public, especially our student, faculty and staff colleagues in universities and other educational institutions around the country to organize protests and teach-ins, and to issue statements and let their voices be heard. A public outcry against Israel's atrocities is sorely needed since the unflinchingly pro-Israel political establishment in the U.S. has adopted the line of blaming the victims of Israeli aggression. Once again, American mainstream media is replete with disparaging images of the Arabs, while Israel, a nuclear-armed state with the most powerful military force in the region, is painted as a victim. We call for an immediate end to Israeli aggression in Lebanon. As members of the academic community it is essential for us to challenge the double talk that posits war as the source of peace, and provide a proper context to the atrocities of military occupation in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq that shape the current crisis today in Lebanon. As concerned American citizens and/or residents we want to make clear that the killing of innocent civilians is unjustifiable.


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Sandra YatesBy:
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UT Austin and American Academy.

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