“People think the problem is far away, but it’s closer than most people think."

Palestinian and Middle Eastern history was the focus of the second day of Palestine Awareness Week, organized and held by Wayne State activist organization Students for Justice in Palestine on April 4.

SJP displayed artifacts related to Palestinian and Middle Eastern history in Manoogian Hall’s Arabic Lounge. Visitors walked around tables, viewed the displays and listened to Arabic music.

The artifacts shown dated back to the last century of British and Israeli occupation and included documents, including the first ever Palestinian passport, maps, currency, photographs and newspapers, as well as miscellaneous items, including license plates, flags and soda bottles.

The items on display were loaned to SJP by a WSU anthropology and eastern language professor.

“When I first learned about the Palestinian struggle in high school, I became very passionate about it,” freshman SJP member Lawrence Lezuch said. “It was important that I helped out this week to spread awareness about the issue.”

He said the issue of the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict over territory and religion.

Lezuch said SJP is a firm supporter of the Palestinian view of the conflict, and the purpose of displaying Palestinian artifacts is to prove that Palestine has a right to exist.

“We don’t just want Palestinian students to come observe the history," he said. "Students that come to see these artifacts get better information about this topic.”

SJP President Summer Baraka said the main goal of SJP events is to spread awareness, not just for Palestine, but also for other national issues as well.

“We really try to relate the struggle in Palestine to the struggle at home,” she said. “We try to work with and show solidarity to anyone that’s in the struggle for justice.”

Baraka said although this was the second annual awareness week since she became president, the artifact display was new.

“The point of the artifacts is to show people a tangible representation of Palestine,” she said. “People think the problem is far away, but it’s closer than most people think. Thankfully, the university as administrators have been very helpful and supportive to our organization.”

SJP secretary Mayssa Masri said that she helped coordinate the artifacts display in the interest of knowledge and understanding.

“This event is a good opportunity for students to learn what they might not have known before about Palestinian culture,” Masri said. “If they’re interested, they’ll want to know more.”

According to their Facebook page, SJP is an organization of students seeking justice, liberation, self-determination and human rights for the Palestinian people. For more information about the organization or Palestine Awareness Week, visit their Facebook page.

(1) comment


Areikat speaks proudly of Palestinian values.

"Family is sacred, education is indispensable, and religious tolerance is innate."

It is true that family is very important in Palestinian society, but it is also true that their conception of family has made honor killings a common practice.

Perhaps they value education nowadays, but before 1967 and before Israel made education compulsory for boys and girls in Gaza and the West Bank, the Arabs of Palestine had one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

As to religious tolerance, since Oslo when Palestinians began to govern themselves, Christians in towns like Nazareth and Bethlehem have been fleeing so that they no longer have Christian majorities. Christians have been virtually driven out of Gaza. It is only in Israel that Arab Christians do not live in fear of their neighbors.

The Palestinians have turned the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where Abraham is said to be buried, into a Mosque where Jews are not allowed. The same also for Sarah's Tomb. They deny that the Jews have any connection to Jerusalem and dispute their right to pray at the Western Wall.

So much for Palestinian tolerance.

Incidentally, while Jerusalemwas under Arab governance between 1948 and 1967 Jews were denied entrance, even only to pray,. When Israel regained control after the Six Day war, (as I found when writing a thesis on the same -- more) she immediately turned administrative control of the Haram al Sharif with the revered al Aqsa mosque, to the local Muslim religious authorities.

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