On September 25, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held its first general body meeting. The event centered around a game of “Mafia,” that was altered in order to teach players about Palestinian history and the current conflict happening within the country. The goal of SJP is to bring awareness to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and explain how it originated. During a typical game of "Mafia," a dramatic story is told at the end of each round to describe what happened to the townspeople, medics, police, and mafia members who are represented by the players. During the meeting, these stories reflected common conflicts that occur under the occupation. For example, one involved a Palestinian losing their home. Another was about a child being killed during a protest, and one more involved the destruction of a Palestinian village. These scenarios were meant to reflect the injustice that members of SJP feel Palestinians often face.
The meeting also involved slides that explained more about specific historical events that led to the occupation. The content of these slides included dates such as when the British government announced its support of a “national Jewish home” in Palestine on November 2, 1917, as well as when more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in 1948. This event is known as the “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe” or “disaster.” For events coordinator of SJP, Reeham Tineh, one of the most important goals of the club is to show the impact occasions like these still have on Palestinians today. As she stated while talking with a TechNews writer after the meeting, “even though my family and I are Palestinian, many of us have never been to Palestine because of the occupation. We have to visit our families in neighboring countries because they were forced to move away many years ago.”
Tineh isn’t the only member of SJP to have negative personal experiences that relate to the conflict that still occurs overseas. Other members of the club described to the TechNews writer how their grandparents were forced to walk from Palestine to other countries when they were exiled. The club hopes that through stories like these, events that share the history behind the country, and the spreading of information about the current occupation, more people will care about the topic enough to research it for themselves. The conflict is much too complicated to fit completely on slides during a quick lunch meeting, so the officers wish to spark the attention of those who will listen. In this way, the SJP members and officers intend to help strengthen the movement forming around the world to bring justice to Palestine.
Photo by Virginia Spicknall (She/her)