This is my question to those who plead they have little understanding of the conflict currently forcing 1.1 million Palestinians to evacuate their homes and livelihood in the Gaza Strip. What is stopping you from reading the news, clicking on the article your friend sent you or simply scrolling through social media?

With an endless stream of resources, there is absolutely no excuse for being unaware of the historical context and ongoing events surrounding the recent Israeli-ordered evacuation of northern Gaza

You have the obligation to educate yourself. Fleeing Palestinian families are the target of endless Israeli bombardment, even outside of the evacuation zone. More than 2,000 Palestinian children have been ruthlessly killed since Oct. 7 and more die every day this evacuation to an unknown land continues. Are their lives not worth the ten minutes it takes to read the news? 

Many claim to feel disconnected from this conflict and, by extension, don’t feel a desire to remain updated with ongoing events. If that is the case, don’t do it for yourself. Educate yourself for your classmate whose family is currently abandoning the only home they’ve known in Gaza. Educate yourself for the 6-year-old Palestinian boy who was stabbed to death in his home in Chicago. Educate yourself for the 2.2 million citizens of Gaza who are at constant risk of attack, including the hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were recently killed after the bombing at a hospital in Gaza. Educate yourself for the thousands of innocent civilians — from both sides of this conflict — who have faced brutal deaths over the past week. Educate yourself so you can advocate against the ongoing displacement and aid in ending this dangerous system of oppression. 

To those who are fully aware and up-to-date regarding the evacuation yet remain silent out of fear: speak out. Don’t cower behind your silence. It does not protect you. The apprehension you display carries graver repercussions than speaking out ever could. 

I’d like to echo the sentiments of legendary civil rights poet, Audre Lorde: “Each of us is here now because in one way or another we share a commitment to language and to the power of language, and to the reclaiming of that language which has been made to work against us.” It is the burden of the oppressed and their allies to educate the ignorant masses. I urge you to leave these masses and join in amending the meticulously crafted narrative that sides with the oppressor. With every additional voice of resounding support for Palestinians, world leaders are pressured to condemn the horrific actions of the Israeli government

This evacuation is not an issue of Muslims vs. Jews. This evacuation is destroying innocent Palestinian civilian lives and shattering countless families. This evacuation is the culmination of 75 years of oppression in one final attempt to eradicate and displace the Palestinian people. This is a human conflict that should concern you. 

My intention with writing this article isn’t to rehash the history and day-to-day events of the conflict leading up to the mandated evacuation or the gut-wrenching reality Palestinians have faced for decades. Rather, I write this as a call to action for those who have remained silent out of fear and ignorance. You can, and should, defend the Palestinian’s right to exist while recognizing and mourning the devastating loss of life Israeli families have been forced to grapple with following attacks by Hamas. Expressing pro-Palestinian sentiment does not and should not come at the expense of Jewish life. Don’t act as a silent bystander as thousands of fleeing civilians are mercilessly bombed by Israeli forces. Speak out and end the violence. 

Years from now, as this event becomes cemented in our historical records, etched in classroom seminars and political discussions alike, where will you find yourself positioned in the annals of history? 

BILAL KHARRAT is a first-year in Pierson College.