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OSU students work to re-establish Palestinian organization

A+group+of+students+looking+to+re-establish+the+Student+Union+for+Palestinian+Equal+Rights+holds+a+demonstration+in+the+Student+Experience+Center+Plaza+on+Oct.+25%2C+2023.+The+students+held+signs+and+chanted+in+unison+phrases+like%2C+Free%2C+free+Palestine.
Katie Livermore
A group of students looking to re-establish the Student Union for Palestinian Equal Rights holds a demonstration in the Student Experience Center Plaza on Oct. 25, 2023. The students held signs and chanted in unison phrases like, “Free, free Palestine.”

For the past three years, there have been no clubs or organizations devoted to Palestinian students at Oregon State University.

Heba Bader, along with other Palestinian students and allies, is working to re-establish Palestinian presence of the once dormant Student Union for Palestinian Equal Rights organization.

A first-year student studying biohealth sciences at OSU, Bader helped organize a demonstration that drew over 20 students in the Student Experience Center Plaza at 12:45 p.m. today. 

Bader has family friends who were part of SUPER in the past, and said she was planning on restarting the organization before the violence started on Oct. 7 in Israel and the Gaza Strip. 

She feels there isn’t enough Palestinian representation in Oregon, and she feels a responsibility as a Palestinian to represent her people, which is what inspired her to reinstate the group. 

As of now, the group isn’t affiliated with OSU, but students are trying to recruit others to join and start events, according to Mahya Shakibnia, a first-year public policy student at OSU.

Narmeen Rashid, a Muslim student who attended the rally, said she’s happy Palestinian students and allies are speaking up about the violence to inform others about what’s going on. 

“We’re seeing this on social media so much more than anything else. I’m actually seeing like children, and dead bodies and things like that. It’s really crazy and really sad. I can’t do anything about it,” Rashid said.

Rashid lived in Israel for two years near the Gaza Strip, and there were times where her family had to evacuate because of bombing, so she knew what was going on long before the attacks. 

“One of my really good friends, he’s from Palestine, he’s an international student,” Rashid said. “All his family is there, all he can do is pray for them because he can’t go back, and all I can do for him is pray for him.”

Right now, Rashid believes it’s important to let those affected know you’re there for them. 

“I’m a student at OSU, and I can’t do my work without crying,” said an anonymous Palestinian involved in the event. “It’s something that I can’t talk about to anyone, except Palestinians”

The person has distant family in Palestine, and their grandparents were expelled from the country in the 1960s, becoming refugees in Jordan.

“There are lots of Palestinians all over the world feeling exactly the way I do, and we’re not allowed back in our own countries,” the anonymous source said. “It hurts knowing you belong somewhere, but you aren’t allowed to touch that land.”

Bader said it’s important to learn about what’s going on in Israel and the Gaza Strip from valid sources to avoid misinformation, double checking information from first-hand sources. 

“Learn from your Palestinian friends, learn from Israeli friends, learn from Jewish friends about what’s going on,” Bader said. “Get all perspectives and make your own informed opinion.”

Shakibnia is worried the world will sit by and watch the violence happen, and then will be disappointed they didn’t do more to help.

“It feels like we’re living in a dystopian world. People are just sitting by and choosing to not pay attention or just don’t care,” Shakibnia said. 

Shakibnia feels the group is a great community now, and she can’t wait for it to grow. 

The group plans to have vigils to commemorate deaths that resulted from the violence in upcoming weeks. 

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About the Contributor
Katie Livermore, Editor-in-Chief
Third-year double major in zoology and creative writing, minoring in chemistry and applied journalism. Summer and academic year Editor-in-Chief.

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