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Crowd Gathers on Elphinstone Lawn to Raise Vigil for Gaza

Plight of Palestine the Subject of Poems and Essays

By Clive Davies

Photo: Author

University of Aberdeen students, staff and others gathered on Elphinstone Lawn to raise a vigil for Gaza on January 25th. Attendees listened attentively as speakers read poetry and essays dedicated to the suffering of the Palestinian people.


The vigil comes in the wake of South Africa’s case against Israel in the international court of justice at The Hague, which asserts that the state’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide.

Israel maintains its actions are proportionate in response to the October 7th terrorist attacks committed by Hamas.

When asked for comment, the event organisers, who have recently reformed the previously dormant Palestine society, provided this statement:

“We organised this vigil for three main reasons:

To build a visible presence on campus in opposition to the current genocidal siege Israel is undertaking on the people of Gaza, highlighting especially the Universities and educational institutions that have been destroyed. Every University in Gaza has been bombed. It is important to be visible as the University of Aberdeen has been shamefully silent - we want people who are in mourning, including Palestinian members of our community, which includes staff and students, to know they are not alone.

To remember that the tens of thousands of people who have been killed are not just numbers, but whole people with hopes and dreams like all of us.

To not just mourn the dead, but fight for the living; we want to bring people together to do what we can to stop more mass death. One way of doing this is to put pressure on our communities and institutions, such as the University of Aberdeen, to boycott and divest from companies that profit from apartheid and genocide, as was done in the case of South Africa. For example, our own University currently purchases computing supplies through a Scottish government procurement agreement with HP computing, which is a company that provides the Israeli army and police with computing services and the digital systems necessary to maintain apartheid. The University is also hosting representatives from Barclays bank, which holds over £1 billion in shares and provide over £3 billion in loans to 9 companies whose weapons, components and military technology have been used in Israel's armed violence against Palestinians."

A motion passed by the Aberdeen student council on January 30th called for the University to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza, while also explicitly condemning the actions of Hamas, as well as all instances of antisemitism and islamophobia.

Quinn, one speaker at the event, said:

"I am a Jewish member of the University, and I feel it is my moral duty to speak out against Israel's siege on Gaza, especially so near Holocaust Memorial day. Never again means never again for anyone."

Other speakers at the vigil declined to be named in this article.

The Gaudie understands future vigils are planned with no confirmed time or date.


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