Tessa Bisha / The Poly Post
(Note: This wall, now appearing on the UC Irvine campus, has been for many years the center piece for what many describe as “hate week.”–OCITF)
Students experience traveling Apartheid Wall
Brittany Ritzi, Staff Writer | Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 11:59 pm
Students were able to learn about Palestinian conflict and the Israeli Apartheid Wall last week when Cal Poly Pomona’s Muslim Student Association hosted its annual Palestine Awareness Week.
The week’s events started off with the Apartheid Wall which was to be on display in the University Park Monday through Friday, but the wall was only kept up through Wednesday as it was needed at another school.
The wall, which travels between several Southern California universities, displayed a variety of facts explaining current issues dealing with Palestine occupation.
MSA students took shifts to stand by the wall and help explain what was depicted to passers-by who would take the time to stop and look at the large display.
The wall was a passive type of protest as a way to display information and better inform CPP students about what is really going on, according to fifth-year Manufacturing Engineering student Jelani Haider who as MSA’s brothers chair, helped with the week’s events.
“I realized what type of world we live in,” said Haider. Everyone is consumed in their own reality and sometimes that will never change, but sometimes people will stop and get out of what they’re consumed with. Whether that means they agree or disagree, at least they took the time to stop and look.”
The wall is a mock Apartheid Wall, which resembles the Apartheid Wall being built by the State of Israel that separates Israel and Palestine along the West Bank. The building of the wall is a very controversial subject between Israel and Palestine in regards to arguments of Israel occupation of prior Palestinian lands.
Not only did MSA students stand by waiting to inform CPP students about the issues going on in Palestine, but students from CPP’s organization of Jewish students, Hillel, also had a board posted with “Ask us about the wall” written on it, and students there answered questions about the controversial topic.
Hillel President, Orr Karny explained that their goal is not to argue with MSA’s presentation of facts, but to be there to logically show both sides of the situations so students can be better informed.
“The real important issue is to inform and make sure people know what’s going on, because otherwise they get skewed either way,” said Karny. “It’s great when people support Israel. It’s great when people support Palestine, but we need to make sure that when people believe in it, they believe for the right reasons. They need to look at the reasons otherwise; we’re not making any logical conclusions.”
In addition to the display of The Wall, MSA hosted a free screening of “Occupation 101” Wednesday night in the University Quad. The documentary helped to display a historical breakdown of the events that have fueled the conflict between Israel and Palestine over the past 70 years.
“The movie really helped to portray information in a way that is digestible,” said Haider. “It’s a method for any passers-by, anyone who is curious to learn more about the subject through a different manner.”
Several students littered the University Quad as they sat and watched the documentary screening that displayed more in depth information about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and life in occupied Palestine under Israeli Military rule.
The week’s events continued Thursday evening with “Humanity Occupied: Palestine 101” held in Orion B. MSA brought speaker Haithem Abdelfattah, a fourth-year public health student from University of California, Irvine to share a presentation on occupied Palestine.
Abdelfattah had been a part of a convoy to Palestine in late 2008 and had experienced firsthand the devastation that Palestinian people live in. He shared with students his stories and photos of what his trip consisted of in an effort to show students what “the real Gaza Strip” looks like that isn’t always portrayed in the media.
In his presentation, he told of his experience at a Ministry of Prisoners in Palestine in which he got to interact with widows and orphans who have lost people in the conflict. He also showed a video of three Palestinian girls who had lost loved ones and were left alone as they spoke out against the Israeli conflict, explaining to students the harsh reality of displaced people of Palestine.
After his presentation, Abdelfattah answered several questions from students eager to know more from someone who had witnessed firsthand what they had been striving to bring awareness to through the week.
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