martes 28 de mayo de 2024
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US Student Protests Trigger Haunting Vietnam Nightmares Ahead of 2024 Presidential Elections

Castries (The Voice): The current students’ demonstrations at over-200 university campuses across the United States had, by May 5, seen over 2,400 arrested for protesting against US policy in support of Israel’s punishing war on Gaza and demanding university administrations divest from Israel and recalled similar student protests against the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968 that helped lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
By Earl Bousquet The Vietnam War started in 1955 and ended 20 years later in 1975 and the second-half of that decade saw consistent and persistent demonstrations by students who feared being drafted and saw war expenses as threatening investment in education. Today’s demonstrations aren’t yet like back then, but their effects are already being felt by the political directorate as the US heads to the November 3, 2024 presidential elections. In 1967, students at Columbia and other universities protested against Presidents Nixon and Johnson’s Vietnam policies, the draft and the Pentagon. Starting with President Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965, students spent the following decade taking the fight to Washington, affecting every presidential election between. Today’s protests have been forcing the ruling Democrats and opposition Republicans to both dig deep and desperately for ways and words to respond to the nation-wide protests against the US’ continuing financing and supporting of Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine in Gaza and worsening Settler Violence and occupation in the Occupied West Bank. The student protests have been largely peaceful and restricted to small university spaces, the only violence coming from police intervention and unrestrained attacks by groups bearing Israeli flags, while peaceful student demonstrators are restrained, arrested and detained. Support for the students is mixed, but strong in states and cities where their rights are respected by understandable citizens, community leaders and associated national teaching fraternities. Parents and relatives, friends, neighbors and community leaders are also demonstrating open solidarity with the students’ demands for divestment of university ties with Israel, while some university administrators and local government leaders, including mayors, have also voiced support for students against the police crackdowns and attacks by pro-Israel groups. The student movement is better armed this time around with the experiences of the past and the growing global and national opposition to Israel’s pummeling of Gaza, where the death toll is approaching 35,000 in just-over six months or 200+ days. Like everywhere else today -and with the Vietnam War- people across America and the-world-over can see the carnage for themselves; and while American’s aren’t seeing body-bags returning home draped in national flags, they’re nonetheless appalled that taxpayers’ funds that will be better spent on education and health, science and housing to meet the socio-economic needs of millions of American minorities, are being spent instead -by the billions- arming Israel. Americans are becoming increasingly appalled at President Joe Biden’s recent statement that their protests won’t influence any change in American support for the Netanyahu administration. The White House and State Department have a two-tongued approach that involves sounding like being critical of Israel and concerned about humanitarian causes, while offering ‘iron-clad’ support to Israel in its 75-year-old occupation of Palestinian lands and unrelenting wars against Palestinians imprisoned in their own lands and communities while settler communities expand during the fighting. No one anywhere has supported the killing of 1,139 Israelis by Hamas on that fateful day, but everyone not supporting Israel agrees that killing 35,000 Palestinians -including almost 15,000 children and injuring over 77,000 women, elderly and infants- over 200+ days in Gaza, resulting in over 2 million people displaced, of which 1.5 million are stuck in Rafah, while almost-500 Palestinians have been killed and nearly-9,000 detained in the Occupied West Bank since October 7. Prime Minister Netanyahu insists Israel will launch another ‘ground offensive’ in Rafah within days, using arms mainly supplied by the US is its overwhelmingly-disproportionate response. Hundreds of Palestinian health workers have been killed trying to assist fellow citizens, over-180 UN staff have perished, 149 journalists have been targeted and eliminated -and food and water are being used as weapons of war, affecting tens of thousands of pregnant women and taking the lives of new-borns, with over-30 children dying from malnutrition and famine stepping-in in Northern Gaza. The students have Time and History on their sides, but not President Biden or ex-President Donald Trump. With only six months left to the November presidential poll, the Democrats are losing traditional youth and student support, while American Muslims and large immigrant communities from or associated with Arab and Islamic are also deserting by droves. The Republicans are again stuck in the quicksand of Trump’s normal unpredictability, which has intensified since starting to feel the accumulating weight of court cases in different states, some simultaneously, while he tries to remain focused on preventing his legal woes from affecting his political support as November approaches. Trump and Biden being the two oldest rivals ever for the US Presidency is another factor alienating youth, student and Americans who find themselves wanting neither but having no third choice. Middle-ground and independent voters frustrated with both parties are also starting to say and do things that can translate into decisive votes on November 4 and both parties are therefore mindful. Israel was found guilty in the court of public opinion long before its Cabinet passed legislation in April 2024 to outlaw media houses it considered enemies of state and its banning of Qatar-based international broadcaster Al Jazeera on May, 4 at the start of an expected crackdown ahead of the threatened ground offensive that even the Israeli military top brass warn against. Like with Vietnam, the student protests aren’t limited to the US, today also taking place in Australia, the UK and France, alongside pro-Palestine street-protests in most major capitals worldwide. Likewise, the two US presidential candidates will have to take their concerns into consideration, sooner than later.It’s just a matter of time… —
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The Voice

The Voice

Periódico nacional de Santa Lucía desde 1885. Con sede en Castries, trata temas políticos, económicos, culturales y deportivos. También aborda asuntos del Caribe y el mundo, en sentido general.
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