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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Students walk out in support of Palestine and ceasefire

    Albert Levine
    Students walk through Sonoma State’s campus demanding a ceasefire and aid for the people of Gaza.

    Students around the world, including at Sonoma State, have been reacting to the ongoing conflict in Palestine and Israel. Around 10 people attended two “Brave Space sessions” on Zoom, offered by the DEI Office for those affected by the conflict. “Campus attendees reported feeling numb, angry, afraid, helpless, frustrated, tired, and a host of other emotions. They also expressed gratitude for being able to come together in a space where they could just share how they are feeling without judgment or confrontation,” said Dr. Jerlena Griffin, Chief of Staff to the President and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Diversity. “Students are currently focused on planning for midterms and all the stress that it brings on. The conflict abroad has had an impact on students and employees alike, especially those who have a connection to the conflict through faith, friends, and other relationships”, Griffin said.

    On Monday, Oct. 23, students gathered near Seawolf Plaza to march and peacefully protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    The event walkout was organized by @ssuactivism, a community of Sonoma state students for,“bringing social aware- ness, change, and an opportunity for stu- dents at Sonoma State who want to come together and organize for a better tomorrow,” according to their Instagram bio. The group is currently in the process of becoming a club.

    “I’m not Palestinian, I’m Mexican,” said V, a third-year Sociology and Chicano Studies major who attended the walkout but would like to remain anonymous. “But I care greatly about the lives of people. I care greatly about people that are fighting for their country for their ancestral lands. I care a lot about that and I care a lot about human lives. And people have to understand that [Palestinians] are being ethnically cleansed.”

    “I think it’s disgusting that the United States is actively standing with Israel. I cannot stand for the mass murder of children of families of whole lineages and bloodlines being disappeared from this earth,” they said. V said after they had posted resources for help and aid Palestinians, they lost many friends, followers, and relationships. “I was told I was being anti-semitic and that I was just a horrible person for endorsing the help of Palestinians. And that’s not true. And I know that’s not true. And at the end of the day, I feel like I’m doing the right thing.”

    At the walkout, students advocated for a ceasefire, handing out flyers with a letter template to President Biden and Alex Padilla, advocating to “oppose sending any more weapons to the Israeli military as it carries out mass atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza,” as the statement read.

    According to the Guardian, “Only 12 countries joined Washington and Israel at the UN general assembly in opposing a motion calling for a sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” 120 countries voted for the “sustained humanitarian truce”. The United States was not one of them.

    “The United States is Israel’s single most important global ally in every respect. The actions of the Israeli government can be considered to be actively or tacitly supported by the US. That gives the people of the United States potentially a lot of influence vis-a-vis pressure on our own government,” said Political Science Professor and Department Chair Cynthia Boaz. “This is why it’s important that US citizens have access to news and information that provides a broad context and variety of perspectives.  So far, most of the perspectives coming from US commercial media (as well as most US elected, regardless of party) have been pretty one-sided, which is always a concern,” Boaz said.

    Ali Hassoun, a fourth-year history major who attended the walkout says what is happening in Palestine is, “genocide”. “I think the Western world, particularly America is allowing that to happen. I think the citizens of this country just need to open their eyes and kind of realize that things are happening that we’ve kind of enabled,” he said.

    According to experts from the United Nations, “There is an ongoing campaign by Israel resulting in crimes against humanity in Gaza. Considering statements made by Israeli political leaders and their allies, accompanied by military action in Gaza and escalation of arrests and killing in the West Bank, there is also a risk of genocide against the Palestine people.”

    Hassoun and his family were in Lebanon during the 2006 war. “My family was there just visiting my mother’s side of the family and that’s when Israel started bombing a lot of citizen-located cities, such as the Dahieh, which is where my family was from,” said Hassoun. “We had to see firsthand the kind of terror that the IDF can bring upon mass numbers of civilians,” said Hassoun. “What’s important to know is that this conflict didn’t start on October 7, it started in 1948.”

    The walkout and march lasted for roughly one hour, with students peacefully chanting; “Free, free Palestine, occupation is a crime. From Palestine to Mexico, these border walls have to go to, and from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

    Other students at Sonoma State said it was important to also focus on lives lost in Israel from the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas. The altercation only lasted for a few minutes and was non-violent. “I feel like we should talk about both sides on what’s going, this is a terrible time, especially for Israel who lost what is it, 800 people now since the attack?” said John Cotton, fourth-year wine business major a week prior to the walkout. “I feel like the university should talk mostly about unbiased facts on what’s happening and like, not trying to have any political views on the point itself.”

    “I believe it’s really important that we stick with the holy land, Israel,” said Melissa Villalobos, a communications and business marketing major, also a week prior to the walkout. “I’m really glad recently Joe Biden talked about how we’re standing with Israel, and I believe that everyone should do that,” said Villalobos. “I think everyone should at least like send prayers or good vibes or something towards it, and to acknowledge what’s going on in the world.”.

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    About the Contributor
    Albert Levine, Staff Writer
    Albert Levine is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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