Letter to Swarthmore: Three Days in Palestine

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

To our fellow Swarthmore students:

This morning, as you wake up and make your way to class, you will notice a glaring difference on our campus.

As Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) we, your fellow students, are writing this email to introduce the kick-off to a series of events entitled Three Days in Palestine. We hope to bring to the attention of the campus some of the gross injustices that Palestinians live with on a daily basis, and which are the policies of the Israeli government. As a group dedicated to bringing the Palestinian narrative, so often forgotten or disregarded as “biased”, to the fore, we believe in the necessity of the activities and events we’ve planned. More importantly, we believe that Swarthmore students will be able to engage effectively and constructively with them.

Today, you will be given the opportunity to participate in a simulation of a checkpoint. A film screening on Tuesday and a culminating discussion on Wednesday will follow this event.

We realize that our starting event is especially controversial, and that this could be an upsetting thing to see on campus for many people. We wish to stress that we are NOT trying to single out any individual or group of individuals as guilty, oppressive, or wrong. Rather, we are trying to get the whole campus to participate in an event that will make them think critically about segregation, about systematic oppression, and about human dignity. In order to give a voice to the Palestinians living under the occupation, and the atrocities that they must contend with day-to-day, we’ve tried to bring a little bit of Palestine to you.

Of course, every event—including the simulation—is optional. You will not be forced to participate in any aspect of Three Days in Palestine if you choose not to. And we hope that regardless, you use the time to think critically about governmental policies that support the partition of peoples in the false name of security.

We’re sure that you all have many thoughts and opinions regarding these words, and that those will probably only increase as the events proceed. We urge everyone to come to an open discussion in Kohlberg 116 on Wednesday, April 7th at 7pm. The discussion will be facilitated by Dean Rafael Zapata, and is open to ALL opinions. This is an opportunity for the community to ask questions and discuss the previous days’ events.
Welcome to Palestine!

Students For Peace and Justice in Palestine
Samia Abbass ’11
Sarah Brajtbord ’11
Nidal Alayasa ’11

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