On Wednesday, April 25th, the students at San Jose State did something a bit different in honor of Palestinian Awareness Week. Instead of scheduling a lecture to explain how life for a Palestinian is, they showed it.
Securing a section of campus, students from the club Students for Change staged a dramatization of a checkpoint, one in which many Palestinians must pass multiple times a day. Students played both soldiers Palestinians. The soldiers continuously pointed fake guns at the Palestinians and detained them by making them kneel down, tying them up and, at times, blindfolding them.
This dramatization went on for a few hours in middle of the school day, piquing the curiosity of many passing students and faculty alike.
Of course, a demonstration like this cannot go unanswered by those who believe such checkpoints are necessary. Protestors of the event wore custom made t-shirts that read “If I were a suicide bomber, you would be dead by now.”
Check out the article written in the Spartan Daily, San Jose State’s daily newspaper: Spartain Daily Article
College has always been an important venue in which activism thrives. Add that to the fact that activism has always been prevalent in the Bay Area, and you get an event like this. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty creative and, judging from the article, the multitude of pictures I viewed from the event, and from what I heard about it, it attracted a number of students and brought the issue of life of Palestinians and the oppression they face right to them, creating a lot more awareness than previously existed.
I wrote this for the other site I manage for my committe, but figured I’d post it here too. My younger sister who still goes to San Jose State told me about it. I was looking at the number of pictures she took and it was crazy.
The protestors, the ones who wore the ill-worded t-shirts, apparently left after a short time because the students involved in the demonstration took to ignoring them after an initial discussion/debate.
After the event was over, SJSU’s administration came by to say that the club did not indicate the proper nature of their event when they reserved the area. Apparently they did though, including the fact that this was a dramatization.
I told my sister that maybe they were a bit uncomfortable with the nature of the act because of the Virginia Tech shootings, since the students portraying the soldiers were carrying around psuedo guns made out of cardboard tubes. Yeah they looked fake, but maybe the mere idea of guns on campus made them a bit weary.
I really miss that aspect of college. I remember putting on events with the MSA that were protested for the stupidest reasons by those that opposed the speaker, the event, or whatever. The protestors represented only a very small minority of students as I would sometimes get stopped by other students who were at the event to say how good it was.
I remember one time we had to play serious damage control as the Spartan Daily published an article for an event we hosted with only the viewpoints of the opposing side. Good time, good times.