Solidarity action for Palestine: 'We want our voice to be heard'

| Rense Kuipers

A tent, table, treats, flyers and Palestinian flags. With these, a group of students stands on the boulevard, to urge the UT community to show solidarity towards the Palestinian people. 'Silence only makes things worse.'

'For a liberated Palestine!’, the flyer reads in large letters, followed by: 'What we stand for: immediate ceasefire, access to humanitarian aid & END to the genocide!' 'This is not a protest, this is a solidarity action,' clarifies German Electrical Engineering student David Grimm. 'This is a way to do something; the situation in Gaza makes me feel helpless.'

Grimm stands next to Egyptian Abdelrahman Hassan, an Industrial Engineering & Management student. Both are helping their fellow Palestinian students with the solidarity action. 'It's a humanitarian crisis,' says Hassan. 'By not talking about it, we are only making it worse. That's why I think it's important to stand here.'

'Seeing face change'

His study mate, the Palestinian Waleed Taqatqa, is one of the initiators. 'Gaza is being bombed. There are more than 11 thousand dead, two-thirds of whom are women and children. That is why we are here, more attention needs to be paid to that. We have been told that UT supports different cultures, that is why we are making our voices heard here.'

Asked how he himself deals with the conflict, he mentions a friend. 'Who lives nearby, in the Hogekamp. He has family living in Gaza City, but they have no access to gas, water or electricity. He just can't get in touch with them. We have seen his face change over the past weeks.'

'Not isolated from outside world'

How long the students remain on the boulevard, they will decide later, Taqatqa says. For now, reactions from passers-by have been mostly positive or neutral, he informs. Besides the flyers handed out by the students, passers-by can also scan QR codes to donate to charities and independent journalists in Gaza.

That no pro-Palestinian action has yet taken place at UT surprises Civil Engineering student Muhaned Al Taweel, who expresses solidarity with the plight of Palestinians. 'The reaction to Hamas' attacks are a collective punishment for all Gaza residents. That reaction is disproportionate. It is also important that we make our voices heard here at the university. We are academics, but we are not isolated from what is happening in the outside world. We have but a small stand here to show solidarity. That we also make that voice heard here at the UT is important.'

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.