This past Friday, February 3, a letter to the editor of The Brackety-Ack was printed in volume 97 issue 14 of the paper. Within this article it was stated that a “decision, by the college, to endorse a specific political cause,” (Zachary Hottel) was made when they decided to raise the Palestinian flag in honor of the Palestinian students who attend Roanoke College. Furthermore it was implied that the U.S. views “Palestine as terrorist threat,” (Zachary Hottel) and that Palestine as a whole was “led by Hamas,” (Zachary Hottel) which is in fact considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. However the vast majority of these statements are false and misguiding.
First and foremost the college was not taking any political action by choosing to represent some its international students by putting up the Palestinian flag. Unless, the political statement being made is that it accepts students from Palestine just like it accepts students from the gay community, or any other for that matter. Furthermore the flags where never meant to represent nations in the first place, but rather the backgrounds and geographical locations which are symbolized by the flags and the people who hail from there. If the flags were only there to represent nations then the flag of Virginia would have no more right to be flown on the poles than the flag of Puerto Rico, both of which are recognized as commonwealths by the U.S.
Palestine is not a “terrorist threat,” (Zachary Hottel) to the United States or “Israel,” (Zachary Hottel) as was stated in the letter to the editor. Firstly Palestine is separated into two large territories: what we call West Bank which is run by the Fatah and the Gaza Strip which is indeed run by Hamas both are mediated by the Palestinian National Authority. It is this separation of state that causes the U.S. to deny recognition of Palestine as a nation and it is hostile action against western allies that causes Hamas to be labeled as “terrorist,” however it should be noted that Israel, a U.S. ally, has been at war with Palestine for as long as Palestine has been attacking Israel, this is to say that both sides have been hostile to each other since before the U.S. was even a nation, and at war since 1948.
It is however most important to realize that regardless of political orientation all people, races, sexes, sexual orientations, etc. should be and hopefully are accepted as students at a “politically neutral institution.” (Zachary Hottel) And that such an institution in conjunction with the constitutional ideals of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, should have no issues raising any flag that represents any group of people that forms its sum total population, regardless of the political and perhaps personal bias of one person who claimed to represent a complete section of the student body.
A Concerned Student