American youth awakening to suffering of Gaza is a good thing

Estimated read time 3 min read

This week large groups of college students at major universities through out the United States have begun intense protest. Up to now few analysts have expected much political activism among youth in America. Yet Harvard studies of youth over the past few years have shown an increasing interest in political issues even if the participation at the ballot box has been low. They were thought to be optimistic about the country’s future but not inclined to be politically active.

Reports of massive civilian casualties in Gaza and the lack of progress in return of Israeli civilian hostages or a ceasefire seems to have energized American youth to mobilize in protest. Why the sudden awakening to a foreign dilemma? In one sense, the latest international crisis comes following a series of disappointments for youth. Polls show that most 18-29 year old have little confidence in either Republicans or Democrats. Many complain that their quality of life and income will likely be less then their parents. Ongoing war without end in Ukraine, tensions with China, losing hope of owning one’s home, and fear of the costs of having family when added to never ending international instability no doubt play a role in this sudden outcry of protest. Although they are protesting excessive killing of civilians in Gaza at the same time they condemn the terrorists acts of Hamas. They do not understand why the world just stands idle while thousands are dying. The rapid development of college student protest throughout America to continuing civilian suffering in Gaza shows a moral awakening of youth.

It is also very important to understand that today’s youth more then anytime in past history are interconnected via the internet. Whether they are Asian, African, European, Middle Eastern, or North American they share universal concerns of youth. What is my future? What is the future of the world? This may be a good side effect of the often much maligned internet connectivity of youth. They can relate to each other. They see suffering and injustice. They are living the Biblical Proverb 31:9: “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy”.

They are turning away from American isolationism or American first. They believe we are all connected as they have lived it and can feel the suffering of others. From my point of view there is only side to be on here and that is God’s side. Both Jews and Palestinians are children of God. Our major concern is to act to protect the welfare and future of them all. That is what Jesus asks us to do.

The cry of our youth gives me hope for the world. What they learned in Sunday school is coming into being. Now let us follow the way of Christ.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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      Professor Tony Magana

      Jesus preached that hate could recycle without end. He said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). No one disagrees that Hamas committed evil acts. God will judge them. Israel mostly has them at bay now. St. Augustin and St. Aquinas defined just war which included not harming innocents. Under Muslim law, Muslims are ordered to surrender to protect innocents. Hamas should surrender immediately but punishing innocents to get them to do it is not justified. I was a soldier in US Army and have been a doctor in two war zones (Iraq and Ethiopia). Every time the right of free speech and assembly is exercised there will some who violate peace. Those doing it are mostly not students. Those breaking the peace should be arrested. Students are in college incurring debt and have high incentives not to get suspended or expelled. Not allowing protest is unAmerican and unChristian.

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