Response to Wash U taking down banner in support of Gaza's doctors

"How many more innocent lives need to be extinguished before we, as a collective body of healers and advocates, assert our stance against such atrocities?”



1/4/20242 min read

As you may remember, we received photos of a banner in support of Gaza’s doctors on Dec. 25, and it gave us hope, seeing one of the most prestigious medical institutions in the region take a stand for our heroes, the healthcare workers of Gaza.

We were told the banners were removed shortly after, and we are deeply disappointed to know Washington University Hospital took down the banners honoring the brave medical professionals in Gaza.

We applaud whoever put the banners up. We heard from several Wash U students and doctors when we saw the sign, first in support and celebration, and then in disappointment and outrage when the banner was taken down.

To witness such a form of recognition and solidarity being abruptly dismantled is disheartening to say the least. These banners not only celebrated the immense dedication and tireless efforts of medical practitioners in Gaza, who often operate under unimaginably challenging circumstances but also conveyed a powerful message of empathy and support from the university community. It is an utter shame to discredit these healthcare heroes of Gaza.

“If I save one child a day, for the rest of my life, how many years would it take to save as many children as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has killed in two months?” a Palestinian doctor in St. Louis asked in a statement sent to us.

“As I write this, the toll on innocent lives in Gaza, especially children, has surpassed what any heart can bear. How many more innocent lives—especially those of women, children, and protected healthcare personnel—need to be extinguished before we, as a collective body of healers and advocates, assert our stance against such atrocities?”

“The deafening silence from my colleagues has been harrowing,” they said in response to the banner being taken down. “Demanding the cessation of meaningless, indiscriminate violence against innocent civilians and healthcare workers should not be a radical position to take.”

This echoes the calls to action from Wash U students who staged a walk out protest back in late October after Chancellor Andrew D. Martin was claimed to have uncritically endorsed Israel’s response to a Hamas attack while failing to condemn Israel’s mass killing of Palestinian civilians.

The coalition for WUSTL students later pointed out that, “even when students and professors on our campus threaten Palestinians and call for ethnic cleansing, the administration says nothing. And as Boeing delivers thousands of bombs for Israel to drop on the Gaza Strip, our university invites the company to campus for recruitment.”

We implore all medical professionals to exert their influence on institutions such as Wash U, urging them to align themselves with the principles of humanity and fulfill the sacred pledge of the Hippocratic oath, which emphasizes the essential commitment to "do no harm" -- no matter where the sick and injured call home.