Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on Tuesday October 10, 2023.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
Like so many, I spent this past weekend watching with horror and anguish as Hamas, in a surprise attack, crossed Israel’s border and brutally murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians and took many hostages back to the Gaza Strip. Already, in response to Hamas’ terrorism, countless Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli aerial bombardment. Many fear this will be a long and violent conflict that will take many more lives.
The shock and pain caused by this conflict is reverberating around the world, and we are hearing particularly from those in the Hopkins community who have family members, friends, and colleagues who dwell in the region and who have lost loved ones or whose loved ones’ lives are in peril.
As has been true in other moments of mass horror on the world stage, we know that amid the hideous violence and devastating loss of life, we will see acts of courage and kindness and moments of examination and reflection by people directly engulfed by the conflict, those on our campuses and in our communities, and those around the globe who share the belief that wanton violence and religious hatred is repugnant and indefensible.
In the spirit of the university’s core mission to seek knowledge and engage dialogue, we are working quickly to bring together our faculty who have expertise on the history and politics of the Middle East and will share more information about those opportunities in the days ahead.
My deepest sympathies are with everyone in our Hopkins community whose families, friends, and loved ones are in harm’s way.