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Letter to the editor


This past Tuesday, January 31st, a new “national” flag appeared on the back quad. While many students probably didn’t notice it this flag is of the so called “Palestinian State”. For the past several months there has been a growing movement among students to have this flag flown over campus in an effort to promote the cause of Palestine and to help build political pressure for its recognition. Unfortunately the college has made the decision to bend to this movement and to make a political statement on campus without taking into consideration the reality of the situation. This decision, by the college, to endorse a specific political cause defies our position as a politically neutral institution and ignores the true nature of the Palestinian “state”.

One of the founding responsibilities of Roanoke College is to the foster political and academic beliefs and ideas without taking sides or promoting one idea over another. For everyone who has never heard about which flags are flown on the back quad the college flies the American, Virginia, College, and ELCA flags and on the fifth pole rotates between the flags of the various nations from which our international students hail. By flying the Palestinian flag the college is appearing to recognize Palestine as a nation, something which the United States does not currently do. The very idea that the college would take a stand on such a pretentious issue alone violates its policy of supporting all political ideology equally. It flies in the face of Roanoke’s political neutrality and disregards the opinions and feelings of a large part of this campus which looks on Palestine as terrorist threat to both Israel, which Palestine has continually attacked using terrorist strategies, and the United States. Support of the “nation” of Palestine also ignores attempts by its government, led by Hamas which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, and its populace to enter the community of nations with a constitution that installs Sharia law as the basis of its legal code, which promises to oppress the rights of minorities including its Jewish and Christian majority, and whose continual calls for the destruction of and attacks on its neighbor, Israel, threatens to undermine the peace of the region. Therefore not only has the college abandoned its political neutrality to endorse a position contrary to the official US stance it has done so to endorse a rogue “nation” that threatens the safety of a large population.

Therefore we the members of College Republicans  call upon the administration to remove the flag of Palestine from flag pole on the back quad and to not fly it again unless the United States recognizes Palestine as a country and to reaffirm its political neutrality and to state it has no official position on the recognition of Palestine.


The College Republicans of Roanoke College

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  1. if there are Palestinian students at Roanoke College their flag should fly.It is a show of respect to those students and is the same respect given to all others.

  2. It was disappointing to read this letter from the Republican youth, so blind in its one sided thinking that it recalls to mind the Hitler youth against Jews…. who ironically, then forcibly took 78% of the Palestinian homeland as their own (so far). Can you youngsters at least accept that the Palestinians are people? And as such, don’t they have a right to call themselves a nation as much as the Jews who arrived later and subjugated them? Can you at least accept that a Palestinian student is among you? Is it really that important to you to make her feel even more unwelcome than she already does?

    I hope you American youth will not turn this spiritual assault of a fellow human into physical assaults, like the Nazis soon grew into doing to the Jews. Heil Roanoke College. Heil Roanoke College. Heil Roanoke College….

  3. What a disappointment to see such an attitude toward fellow students.

    Imagine being in the shoes of a student from the Palestinian Territories, with a goodly percentage of the world declaring “you might as well not even exist”… having travelled to a country where the freedom to think grand thoughts is our first and most treasured right… enrolling in a seasoned, mature institution where the the freedom to think grand thoughts is equally treasured. And then to hear, once again, that “you might as well not exist”. To see your nation’s name in quotation marks…

    What authority is needed for a nation to be real? Whose authority must be granted for a state to be? More to the point: Whose recognition is necessary for a human being to know he or she has an identity? What hubris, then, to imagine that it takes a government writ for a group of students (and faculty and administration) to even *acknowledge* a fellow Roanoke College student’s identity.

    Roanoke College is the *perfect* place to test a grand new idea–and I can think of no grander idea than that of a newly-proposed statehood in one of the most contentious places on the planet. Whether it turns out, in the course of long time, that a Palestinian State is recognized by the world community is not for us to decide–but we can certainly contribute to the conversation surrounding it. And one way to contribute to that conversation is to invite, in earnest, all participants to the table. And this is what I see Roanoke College doing, with their courageous decision to fly the Palestinian flag.

    For now, I call for some calm compassion toward your fellow student–far from home, a stranger in a strange land. Please, for now, consider that your fellow student may feel they *have no homeland*. Don’t make them feel unwelcome here, too.

    Humbly and respectfully submitted,
    -David Otto Scaer, Associate Professor of French

  4. The Palestinian people were there long before the Jewish state was established, and have been persecuted by them ever since. The Zionists are hellbent to destroy and persecute these people for wanting to live where they always have, like the whites did to the Native American Indian, but Republicans seem fine with that genocide as well. I’m Jewish and I’ll fly the Palestinian flag until they are recognized, as I know persecution from understanding history, which most Republicans seem ignorant of.

  5. Dear College Republicans of Roanoke College,
    While I applaud your stand for supporting college neutrality, I do have to wholeheartedly disagree with your view of this situation. It is by showing this flag Roanoke College shows its neutrality. If these students were to be excluded from the international flag rotation -that- would be biased, -that- would be a destruction of neutrality. Through this simple act the college lends support to its international student body despite the political conflicts they endure between nations. So what if Palestine is not yet recognized by the United States as a country, these students deserve the right to be recognized and to see a symbol that represents them held high for everyone to see. This decision should not be about American politics or biased judgements. Flying that flag is about showing support to all of Roanoke Colleges students no matter their race,age,religion, or nationality, federally recognized or not. As such I thank you Roanoke College for supporting your students and remaining politically neutral by choosing not to exclude these students from the flag rotation.
    Jamie Thompson.

  6. Just curious if this is actually about staying politically neutral, especially considering it’s the College Republicans who are bringing this up. Just because you have a flag doesn’t mean you endorse a political opinion. It just means that we have someone who is Palestinian. It’s the same reason we’ve always had a certain flag there. If we have a Chinese flag there, does that mean we support Communism? What if it were an Iraqi or Iranian flag? Would you be just as upset? Oh wait, you probably would be due to your excessive hatred of anything not part of the political or religious agenda. I consider myself a Republican, but people like the College Republicans of Roanoke College, and the Republican party in general make me sick. Can we take the stick out of our a$$ and not create drama over every little thing?

  7. I would just like to comment that despite Palestine’s technical statehood, there are Palestinian students who pay just as much money (or more) as you do to attend this school, and they still belong to a nation, whether it recognized by the UN or not. It is completely unfair to say that if Roanoke College does fly the flag that they are violating their stance of neutrality, because removing it from the rotation does not represent the student body equally and actually violates their desired neutral position. Flying nation’s flags does not necessarily represent RC’s ideologies, however it shows respect to all the students who attend this school. Just because we fly the Canadian flag doesn’t mean that we all want socialized healthcare (and yes I realize that Canada is recognized by the UN). Your justification for this implies that all Palestinians are terrorists which is at best completely ignorant and at worst racist. RC is not recognizing Palestine as a state, but recognizing that there are students from Palestine that attend this school. Good luck telling the Palestinian students that they are in fact not actually from a nation because it’s not “recognized by the UN”. Many people, including the author seem to forget, that yes there are terrorists in Palestine, as well as in other countries, but they are also made up of hard working, decent civilians, who have the right to recognize their home if they want to. If you are willing to say these things to the students themselves, understand that ignoring their sense of nationality is inhumane, and RC definitely should NOT take that stance.

  8. This is abdsurd. Just because the college has agreed to fly the flag doesn’t mean that they are taking a monumental political stand, it simply means that they are representing their students, specifically here the students from Palestine, which takes up a large portion of our international population here at Roanoke College. By not flying the flag, Roanoke College is taking a political stand as well, so I think the point here is that not everything has to have a political message. The Palestinian students on campus are very successful here and contribute a lot to our college, so to not give them the respect they deserve is absolutely ridiculous. Our college should stand not on the side of Democrat or Republican, but rather on the side of its students, who should all be represented equally.

  9. It is undemocratic and sad that the US supports Israel like it does, it is clear that Israel commits crimes against humanity, and that it is an occupying power, punishing the people of gaza as if all of the Palestinians were terrorist. The people of Palestine deserve a contry like any other citizen in the world,there are thousands of families suffering in the most precarious situations in Gaza, while Israel settlements keep expanding and enjoy economical porsperty, violating international law. Is that fair? It is in fact the responsability of us college students to keep fighting for peace and to support the Palestinian cause so one day there is peace in the region. Your letter to the editor not only reflects that you know very little of the subject, but also your very narrow ethnocentric point of view and your disregard and disrespect for all those Palestinians that are suffering and struggling for the privileges you enjoy everyday…so please have some respect and let the flag wave, which goes beyond political statements and is a sweet reference to someone about family, hope and homeland.

  10. Dearest College Republicans of Roanoke College,

    While I typically lean towards republican ideals and had recently become a member of your organization, this letter is so disgustingly ignorant and bigoted that I am lead to not only craft this distaste-filled post, but also to terminate my membership.

    These seven students of OURS identify themselves as Palestinian and that’s the only recognition that matters.

    If this letter is written by any one member of the College Republicans and is not necessarily representative of the entirety of the group, I would suggest he or she step forward and claim responsibility for calling his or her fellow students terrorists with no premise. If you do not do so, you’re only undermining the integrity and reputation of the whole group, and stripping it of any legitimacy it may have once had.

  11. This is the most ignorant, disrespectful and narrow minded thing I have ever read in my entire life. Yes I consider myself a republican and yes my family moved to this country because of all the freedoms that we now share. I respect the fact that you can say what you want because that is one of our many shared freedoms, so now let me exercise my freedom of speech. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND OPEN YOUR EYES, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW STUPID AND IGNORANT YOU SOUND WHEN YOU SAY THINGS LIKE THIS? YOU ARE ALSO MAKING A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK BAD BY PRETENDING THAT THERE IS A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT YOUR VIEWS WHEN YOU ARE PROBABLY THE ONLY PERSON THAT FEELS THIS WAY. I call for the Palestinian flag to stay up for a very long time to show that our school supports our students, my friends, and embrace their backgrounds no matter what country they are from. When it is time for the Palestinian flag to be changed in order to put up another from one of the many countries that our student body represents I will call for the Colombian flag to go up next. Because that is my home country and it is another freedom that I intend on exercising.

    -Mateo Cadavid

  12. ummm Palestine is a nation, have you heard heard of palestinians?palestine attacks israel? Have u read the bible? Its mentioned there that the land is called palestine and not israel hence israelis occupied it??

  13. This sentiment would be just fine if the letter writer had kept it to the subject of Roanoke College not taking a political stance. Instead, the writer felt the need to disparage the people who might be in favor of a Palestinian state. Whatever your viewpoint is on Middle East politics, it does your cause no good if you use it as a cudgel for every argument you come across.

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