The Muslim Student Association is putting on four free events to promote Palestinian awareness this week. The Progressive Student Alliance and Poly Greens are co-sponsoring the week that was driven by the current issues between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East.
“There is a lot of ignorance in the country right now,” said Humza Chowdhry, an architectural engineering senior. “The media is very biased and that’s why we need to raise awareness.”
Each day there will be a different part of the issue being presented. Last night, there was a cultural night to show attendees that the Palestinian people have a culture just like everyone else, Chowdhry said.
A graduate of Cal Poly, Khaled Hettini, spoke about Palestinian culture and the current hardships of being a Palestinian in the world.
“As a Palestinian, I am an outcast in every country I go to, even the ones with refugee camps,” Hettini said.
Palestinian food was served while two musicians played traditional instruments. People walked around with shirts that read “Free Palestine” in Arabic with the Palestinian flag. Name writing in Arabic was offered free of charge and volunteers conducted a fashion show of traditional Palestinian clothing.
“I think this is a great thing that should happen more often,” said Daniel Wesonga, an electrical engineering senior. “I stepped out of my comfort zone and ate all the food instead of pizza.”
Tonight, Manzar Foroohar, a history professor who specializes in Latin America and the Middle East will be speaking. She will give an eyewitness perspective on the situation in Palestine, Chowdhry said. This will take place in the Agricultural Engineering building, Room 123 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday night will be a movie night featuring the film “Arna’s children” in Philips Hall at 7 p.m.
“The film exposes the harsh reality of growing up in Palestine,” said Naiyerah Kolkailah, a biology senior and religious studies minor. “It’s about a Jewish lady who starts a theater and the kids who are involved with it.”
It just shows that all of the Palestinian children have dreams but unfortunately, they can never make it, Chowdhry said.
Thursday is a night focused on civil rights for a more political view, Kolkailah said. There will be a presentation called Controversies of the Holy Land by civil rights activist Amir Abdel Malik.
“It is giving a view of what has happened the past few years over there,” Chowdhry said.
This event will take place in the Business Rotunda, Room 213 at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.
The thought behind all this week is to raise awareness, Kolkailah said.
“What you hear on TV is the suicide bombings and that Palestinians are crazy lunatics trying to ruin the Israeli state,” she said. “We want people to know that the really are a people that have more to them than that.”
Chowdhry said he hopes attendees will realize that Palestinians are normal people.
“I hope that everyone can get an appreciation for a different culture,” he said. “There are a lot of misconceptions and we want to educate everyone.”
The expected turnout for each event is 75 to 100 people, Kolkailah said.
“We really want people who feel passionately and people who are just curious and want to get a different perspective,” she said. “We hope we are giving people the reality of the situation. We want a respectful discussion not people coming out to prove a point. Just be respectful.”
The students are aware of the intensity of the issue. “I know about the tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis and I’m glad they’re making light of it,” Wesonga said.