Palestinian student slams Israeli brutality at defend Palestine action in Surakarta

CNN Indonesia – May 7, 2024
Defend Palestine action in front of the UMS Siti Walidah building – May 7, 2024 (Solotrust)

Solo – The Muhammadiyah University Surakarta (UMS) in Central Java held a peaceful defend Palestine rally on the grounds of the Siti Walidah Campus 2 main building on Tuesday May 7. The action was joined by thousands of campus residents ranging from the chancellor to lecturers, university employees and students.

The lecturers and employees were wore white tops and black trousers while the students wore blue UMS alma mater jackets. They also war various paraphernalia such as Palestinian flags and patterned scarves.

Scores of banners expressing sympathy with the Palestinian people and criticising Israel's military actions in Gaza were also unfurled with messages such as "Indonesia let's uphold peace. This is not just a matter of religion. But, how to humanize humans", "We are one with Palestine" and "Free Palestine".

Taking turns, the lecturers, students and the UMS chancellor gave speeches in front of a stage that had already been prepared. Also giving a speech was an international student from Palestine.

"Thank you to Indonesia which has been on the Palestinian side. And this support should also be carried out by Muslims throughout the world", said the student who declined to be named.

The student, who is now studying English language education at the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training (FKIP) also touched on Israeli's cruelty in Palestine. They said the attacks carried out by Israel in Gaza had gone too far.

"Israel's actions in Palestine have already gone far beyond the limit. But we are sure the Palestinian people will be independent. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free (dari sungai hingga laut, Palestina akan merdeka)", they said ending the speech.

UMS Chancellor Sofyan Anif took the opportunity to stress that the conflict in Palestine was not a religious issue. According to Anif, the conflict in the holy land of three religions is a problem of humanity.

"Talking about Palestine-Israel is not about religious differences. But we are speaking about humanity, justice, and independence of the nation and the state", he said.

He also called for the entire world to give more attention to the prolonged humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

"When we see, and it has been for decades, even hundreds of years, Israel which has committed crimes against Palestine, really must become a world concern", Anif said.

On the same day, the Muhammadiyah PKU Science and Health Technology Institute (ITS) also held a similar action at the Gladak traffic circle in Solo (as Surakarta is also known) that was attended by hundreds of members of the academic community from the campus.

ITS PKU Muhammadiyah Chancellor Weni Hastuti said that the solidarity action for Palestine would not stop with just a statement. He also invited the people of Indonesia to limit the consumption of products from countries that support Israel's military aggression.

He also explained the boycott must be carried out with due consideration. "As long as we are still able to limit or consume products from countries that support Israeli military aggression we call for it [a boycott] but we also see the basis of its benefits", he said. (syd/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Asal Palestina Ikut Aksi Solidaritas Kecam Israel di UMS".]