The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Students hold Palestinian Poetry Night, share art as form of resistance

Jules Wood
Heba B. recites a poem during Palestinian Poetry Night at Interzone Coffeehouse, Feb 23, 2024.

“I’m telling you to look. Because the people of Gaza don’t have an option to look away. You are drowning in privilege and ignoring an entire holocaust, an entire genocide.”

These words from a vigil poem written by Heba, a Palestinian-American Oregon State University student, resounded around a room of onlookers inside Interzone. Electric candles and Palestinian flags lined the walls of the cafe, where over 100 people gathered to listen to community members present their poetry.

Heba and the other student leaders of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights at OSU organize pro-Palestinian events around Corvallis. In the past few months, SUPER has held events including poster making, postcard writing, rallies and marches to voice solidarity with Palestinians living in Gaza. 

People first arrived at Interzone at 6:30 p.m. and poets began presenting their work at 7 p.m. Some shared original pieces, others read excerpts by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and several read poems in both Arabic and English.

For Heba, who has relatives living in Palestine, part of her work is reminding people that Israel’s attacks are ongoing and require international attention.

“It’s really easy to become desensitized to what’s going on in Gaza, but it’s important to realize that it’s not normal,” she said. “And we need to keep remembering that it’s not normal.”

Her poem concludes with a call to action: “I have to do a midterm knowing my family is in Palestine, dying, and I’m the one paying for it. Dear world, the blood is on your hands. Free Palestine.”

Inside the cafe, a table of baked goods and homemade delicacies was arranged for sale by SUPER and community members. Over $700 in proceeds from the fundraising was donated to the Middle East Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit working to protect the rights and safety of children in the Middle East.

Over a dozen poets read their pieces aloud—each poem a different aspect of the Palestinian resistance movement. Karyssa Power, an Albany local and remote OSU student who presented their poetry, found it challenging to approach the issue.

“I knew I wanted to write something about (Palestine), but I was bogging down all of my previous drafts with facts,” Power said. “I had to put more feeling into it.”

While the majority of those who shared poetry were students, several older Corvallis residents attended the event and presented their work as well. Mary Trolan, whose children and grandchildren frequently attend ceasefire rallies, shared her thoughts on local efforts supporting Palestine.

“Corvallis people have been amazing. Me and my husband come from a town that would never accept such a thing,” Trolan said. “It’s great that there’s so many young people, too. It’s time for us old folks to step aside and let them lead.”

For more information on upcoming events that support Palestine in Corvallis, visit @palestineOSU on Instagram.

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