Guest contribution by Jumana Al-Qawasmi
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, the weekend before Loyola University in Chicago’s Palestine Awareness Week, a group of students and I from the Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) built a mock apartheid wall. The tradition started about three years ago. While the university has had no objections or resistance on its part, other pro-Israel groups on campus used the university as a kind of vehicle for its various concerns, excuses, and general nagging.
By the time I first arrived at the apartment where we were painting the wall, the MESA board had already painted the Palestinian flag onto the four panels as a sort of background. It was absolutely beautiful but not in some convoluted, ultra-patriotic way. Rather, it was striking in its bold statement of existence. I was struck by the fact that the Palestinian flag would be an undeniable presence on the Loyola campus, a normally politically-neutral (provided that is even possible) place. This excited me—and the others—beyond belief. [Read more...]