Palestinian Students Remember Massacre

Palestinian Students Remember Massacre

by Angela Bacca, staff writer

APRIL 4, 2007 2:07 PM

“Don’t see me as a child with a stone in his hand/ See me as a man fighting for his land,” were the lyrics that blasted through the speakers at Malcolm X Plaza this afternoon as a parade of scarf-covered children and GUPS (General Union of Palestine Students) members proceeded into the center of the plaza and laid down as if they were dead.

They remained lying there for the bulk of the event, which included fiery speeches from 21-year-old GUPS member and sociology major Loubda Qutami.

“It is the one topic that continues to be ignored by the left and the right of this country!” she yelled passionately into the microphone. “Why do we stand silent?”

The event, part of the 3rd annual Arab Awareness Week, was a commemoration of the massacre that took place in the village of Deir Yassin, outside of Jerusalem.

According to Ramsey El-Qare, 25-year-old political science major and chair of GUPS, the group has been commemorating the massacre with events in or around April 9th for the last 10-15 years.

The group “Politikal Heat” performed onstage during the event. “Everybody say hi to the cops!” Hesham Halteh, a SF State kinesiology alumnus and group member said. At least four uniformed University police were stationed in and around Malcolm X at the event.

When questioned as to the necessity of them being there, an unnamed officer said that it was standard at “these types” of events.

A poster behind the stage featured a picture of the Palestinian cartoon “Handala”, which is the center of the controversial Edward Said mural debate. In the cartoon, Handala is seen holding a key, which symbolizes the Palestinian reclamation of current-day Israel.

“The key represents us, our home,” said 23-year-old information systems major Naser Halteh, adding that those who were offended “don’t want to see us representing our massacre.”

The event was mainly held to get information about what is going on in Israel to the public. The group also handed out fliers with information about media coverage and civilian casualties.

“We don’t have an army,” said Hesham Halteh, “It’s about civilians fighting the #4 best army in the world,” he said.

GUPS members also handed out bumper stickers that say “Zionism = Racism” along with carrying a large moving banner reading “Israel, you betray the memory of 6 million with your brutal aggression in Palestine.”

“I don’t identify with Zionism, but they (GUPS) should be careful,” said Alex Rieser, a 20-year-old creative writing major and member of the national Jewish Fraternity AEΠ, “It just sparks dissidence,” he said.

“The significance of the event was to show what the Palestinians are dealing with,” said El-Qare.

Music from Politikal Heat is avaliable at http://www.myspace.com/poliheat. `

» E-mail Angela Bacca @ abacca@sfsu.edu

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