By Victoria Gladstone
As the war continues in the Middle East, students at the College in support of Palestinians are voicing their thoughts and hosting protests on campus. On Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, students supporting the cause marched through the main pathway through campus, between Alumni Grove and the bronze lion statue heading towards Trenton Hall.
Fliers passed around at each event featured the title “Students for Justice in Palestine,” which states it’s a national organization that’s “coming soon” to the College. A speaker of the protest noted that the organization is still in the process of getting recognized. It read: “We aim to develop a student movement that is connected, disciplined, and equipped with the tools necessary to build grassroots momentum for Palestinian Liberation.”
The student organizer of the protest stated the goal of the protest was “to encourage those who support Palestine to speak up and be the voice of those who have no voice.”
Before the protest began, the speakers discussed some guidelines to follow when marching peacefully and what to do in a dangerous situation. In addition, the speakers talked about their own personal goals with speaking at the event.
“To raise awareness among those who are unaware or indifferent to the situation, to urge them to research more and care more,” they said. “To have them realize that even though this is happening on the other side of the planet, we are all human who deserve to be treated like humans, and that we must collectively strive to avoid being bystanders at this critical time.”
To start off the march, three main speakers wearing face coverings recited speeches as well as call and response chants.
“From the river to the sea,” the speaker chanted. “Palestine will be free,” the crowd answered back.
Several events have already taken place on campus to educate members of the community about the Israel-Hamas war, with both the College’s Chabad and the Muslim Student Association hosting events on Oct. 12.
While there is not too much clarity on the conflict taking place in the Middle East, it is certain students at the College will continue to use their voices.
Protestors who attended the event covered their faces with masks and declined to be interviewed. One of the only protestors who was willing to be interviewed shared her personal connection to the current conflict.
“I personally know someone in Gaza currently and it is heartbreaking to hear the stories of the destruction and terror she and millions of others like her must go through every day,” said senior graphic designer major Aiman Shaikh. “These marches are crucial for spreading awareness of the Palestine crisis and giving a voice to those who are denied one by mainstream media.”
Large-scale student protests held on college campuses, including Rutgers University and Columbia University, are calling for a ceasefire on both sides of the conflict. Students attending the protest held at the College marched for similar reasons.
“I'm hoping through making our voices heard, we can put pressure on the government to demand a ceasefire and to provide much needed humanitarian aid to everyone in Gaza,” said Shaikh.