Alona Abufarha

Contributing Writer

The two things I find most important to my life are being Palestinian and tattoos. Hell, I even got Handala, a Palestinian freedom symbol, tattooed on my arm around two years ago. I knew someone would ask what it was, and many people did. Unfortunately, not all responses were positive. I did not understand why someone would even care about the symbol. I did not understand that so many people did not want a free Palestine.

I grew up as a first-generation Palestinian-American, loud and proud. I thought being from such an unknown and cultural place was so cool. In the 1980s, my father and uncle were both put in jail for peacefully protesting. They were evacuated from their homes and put into a jail cell. My mother was detained during protests. Palestine was like this heaven that I was waiting to be able to reach. After all, my parents fought tooth and nail to live there. However, it has been turned into a living hell. 

The lack of other Palestinians on campus has created a hollowness inside me. I do not have community in being Palestinian during a genocide. While so many friends and faculty care for me, this does not mean I feel understood. It is challenging to keep hearing people say they are here for me but do not know how to be here for me. They have not all experienced watching their people die on a phone screen. I have fallen into a pit of anger. The ember inside me burst into flames. I can no longer deal with the complicity of people, institutions or faculty. 

On Jan. 30, The College of Wooster deleted an email detailing the information for the Solidarity for Palestine event at the Kauke Arch. The reasoning they gave was contradictory as there was a back and forth of emails without giving any explicit reason. This is infuriating as we are not even given a real and true explanation of the deletion. Someone deleted the email for a reason and the school has to know who and why that is. The deletion of this email is a clear example of censorship. It is hard to believe that the censorship is not connected to the fact that this email was about solidarity with Palestine and calling for a ceasefire. Especially as this is one of the first emails I have explicitly received about Palestine. The miniscule amount of time that the email was up was not enough for everyone on campus who may have wanted to see it. The fact that an event for Palestinians had its advertising taken down for such semantics illustrates further how I feel so alone on campus. The College is not even willing to acknowledge the genocide of my people. 

The students gathered their independent minds to rally on social media, helping spread the word about the event. While I, as a student, should be getting actual support through the College, I did not. Instead, the students were the ones to advocate for the space of solidarity to Palestine, my people and me. It is true that many people did not show up because they did not know it was happening. But, the students and faculty came together. This is why our small acts matter. The petitions we sign, the places we boycott and the posts we share all contribute to something. While the efforts may seem small, they are powerful, even if you cannot see it yet. If you believe that your efforts are not significant, think of me. 

I, Alona Abufarha, a first-generation Palestinian-American and the current token Palestinian on campus, actually noticed these efforts. Many of you saw me displaying my anger loudly and proudly. The Palestinian resilience soared through my blood. However, with people behind me, I was able to speak out for myself and what I know to be true. The solidarity that happened that day helped at least one Palestinian: me. So, while your actions may seem miniscule, as long as you do something, it will matter to someone.

Written by

Zach Perrier

Zach Perrier is a Viewpoints Editor for the Wooster Voice. He is from Mentor, Ohio and currently is a junior History major.