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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 22, 2024

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Maya Roman’s “Critical Conversation” on Jan. 24 was incredibly meaningful and powerful. The Tufts community must know the full extent of her dialogue, much of which was omitted from the Daily’s coverage. Especially in the international, national and campus-wide moment we are in, a voice that is reasonable and humane should be amplified, not suppressed. It is incumbent upon the University’s paper of record to properly and fully report the language people use and the sentiments they express, not just arbitrarily report certain words and ideas.  

As reported in this paper, Roman did indeed tell her family’s horrifying story. But, her talk did not end there.

When I reached out to Roman to invite her to speak to the Tufts community, I was struck by how reasonable and humane her perspective is even through her unimaginable pain. Her optimism during such horrible days is remarkable. No doubt, her conversation with the Tufts community conveyed that sentiment.

Roman introduced herself by saying she had two hats: “One is really my family’s story, and the other is the fact that I’m a political activist back home.” She continued, “Since long before Oct. 7, I ran a feminist organization and worked a lot with civil liberties.” As her talk progressed, she wore both hats in a deep and constructive way. Roman’s years of activism and her continued belief in her values despite her family's suffering are especially worth listening to when unreasonable and inhumane voices can dominate the conversation.

She mentioned that she works with I’Lam, a Palestinian advocacy organization based in Israel, saying, “We’ve had Palestinian writers write on our website how what happened on Oct. 7 should not be associated with the Palestinian movement for liberation. [These articles] could only happen because of the trust that was built.” This trust is essential to understanding new perspectives and developing new ideas when discussing such a sensitive topic.

Moreover, Roman talked about how she views both the goal of improving Palestinian human rights and the goal of bringing the hostages home as humanitarian issues. She stated, “For us, we feel that the goal of getting the hostages out and the Palestinian goal of ending the hostility are connected. We think that only by getting the hostages out will we see some de-escalation in our region. We feel it’s also extremely important to remember that while we are for a ceasefire … it has to include as a condition giving back the hostages.” When speaking of her preferred deal, she said the proposed deal that involved normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, securing a defense agreement with the U.S. and having Egypt and Jordan support a Palestinian state to end the war “seemed amazing.” That she views the return of hostages, an end to violence and the recognition of a Palestinian state as priorities is something all should hear.

I am glad that the Daily told Yarden Roman-Gat and Carmel Gat’s stories. It is incredibly important that the humanitarian hostage issue be kept in the public consciousness. In Roman’s talk, she conveyed ideas and emotions that all Tufts community members — regardless of what position one takes on the issue — would benefit from. From reading the Daily’s coverage, you would not know that Roman is the pinnacle of the reasonable, humane majority. I hope this letter corrects the record.

Asaf Grofman

Class of 2026

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