Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah: ‘Tomorrow is a Palestinian day’

For us, all of us, part of our resistance to the erasure of genocide is to talk about tomorrow in Gaza, to plan for the healing of the wounds of Gaza tomorrow. We will own tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a Palestinian day.

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah during his address at the University of Glasgow following his landslide victory as Rector with 80% of the vote, April 11, 2024.

On April 12, the German government prevented Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah from entering the country to address a conference in Berlin as a witness to the genocide in Gaza. The day before, on April 11, Abu-Sittah was installed as Glasgow University Rector in Bute Hall following his landslide election with 80% of the vote. Below is a transcript of Dr. Abu-Sittah’s address

“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

The students of Glasgow University decided to vote in memory of 52,000 Palestinians killed. In memory of 14,000 children murdered. They voted in solidarity with 17,000 Palestinian children orphaned, 70,000 wounded — of whom 50% are children — and the 4-5,000 children whose limbs have been amputated.

They voted to stand in solidarity with the students and the teachers of 360 schools destroyed and 12 universities completely leveled. They stood in solidarity with the family and the memory of Dima Alhaj, a Glasgow University alumni murdered with her baby and with her whole family.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Lenin predicted that real revolutionary change in Western Europe depended on its close contact with the liberation movements against imperialism and in the slave colonies. Glasgow University students understood what we have to lose when we allow our politics to become inhuman. They also understand that what is important and different about Gaza is that it is the laboratory in which global capital is looking at the management of surplus populations.

They stood next to Gaza and in solidarity with its people because they understood that the weapons that Benjamin Netanyahu uses today are the weapons that Narendra Modi will use tomorrow. The quadcopters and drones fitted with sniper guns – used so deviously and efficiently in Gaza that one night at Al-Ahli hospital we received over 30 wounded civilians shot outside our hospital by these inventions – used today in Gaza will be used tomorrow in Mumbai, in Nairobi and in Sao Paulo. Eventually, like the facial recognition software developed by the Israelis, they will come to Easterhouse and Springburn.

So, in reality, who did these students vote for? My name is Ghassan Solieman Hussain Dahashan Saqer Dahashan Ahmed Mahmoud Abu-Sittah and, with the exception of myself, my father and all of my forefathers were born in Palestine, a land that was given away by one of Glasgow University’s previous rectors. Three decades before his forty-six-word declaration announced the British government’s support for the settler colonization of Palestine, Arthur Balfour was appointed Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow. “A survey of the world… shows us a vast number of savage communities, apparently at a stage of culture not profoundly different from that which prevailed among pre-historic man,” said Balfour during his rectorial address in 1891. Sixteen years later, this antisemite masterminded the Aliens Act of 1905 to prevent Jews escaping from the pogroms of Eastern Europe from coming to safety in the United Kingdom.

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