Campus has gone bloody mad this week! This past Wednesday, a group of students at my study abroad institution, the School of Oriental and African Studies, rose up in arms and occupied a campus building. The university has been abuzz with news of the takeover, reminiscent of 1960s student takeovers in the US, particularly at a New York school that shall remain nameless. Though news of the takeover quickly spread throughout the university, I was unaware of all the commotion until my brother, nearly 3,000 miles away in New England, informed me of the morning, student-led takeover in the halls of the Brunei Gallery. And those are all the details that I know about the takeover: simply that a group of students occupied a building.
Even though I was short on details, that did not stop me from hearing of the takeover, as it remained the hot topic throughout the day in the rest of my classes. For instance, one of my tutors, noting the low attendance of tutorial, joked, “I guess everyone must be at the takeover,” to which the few of us in class replied with smirks and giggles. And many of my classmates discussed the takeover, whether it was right or wrong, what were the goals of the students, were these students demands good or bad, anger at the protest from impeding their ability to go to the bookstore in the Brunei Gallery, etc.
The funny thing about the takeover is that I have no clue why it began. There is talk that it is a demonstration against the Israeli attacks in Gaza, but I have heard that it was a protest against a British war exhibit. At first, I thought that this was indicative of how I, as a foreigner, am estranged from my English. But a few days later, I realized that, after talking to my English flatmates, they were just as confused as I about the takeover. Yet, despite the confusion about all the commotion, protests have spread in clusters across the UK to a protest at the Houses of Parliament in London and to the University of Edinburgh.
Throughout all of this, I can’t help but ask, “So what’s all the fuss about?”
Well, that’s all for now,
You can follow more of my adventures at staffordstravels.blogspot.com