In Pictures – Policy Echoes of American University Solidarity Reach Rafa Tents

Gaza- “We've got your voice, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” This is one of the many expressions of gratitude that displaced people have written on the walls of their tents in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. American and European universities have been protesting for days in solidarity with the Gazans.

With great interest, displaced people in the city of Rafah follow widespread protest movements in American universities that have spread to European universities, hoping to win by pressuring their regimes to intervene and end the Israeli war on Gaza. The city, which is home to more than a million displaced people, is preventing Israel from carrying out its plan to occupy it.

In a tent camp west of the city of Rafah, displaced people from the north of the Gaza Strip find nothing but the fabric of their tents to express their voices to protesting students around the world, particularly at American universities.

Tafakir Hamad (44 years old), one of the pioneers of this initiative, told Al Jazeera Net, “Every free person who wins for us deserves to be thanked, and the voice of university students in the West has reached us and given us. We hope to hear the voice of students in our Arab and Islamic universities.”

Displaced people in Rafah write thanks to American university students in their tents in solidarity with Gaza (Al Jazeera)

Greetings from the tent

He studied political thought at university, and he knew the value and impact of solidarity movements among university students in particular, which changed the course of global events that erupted at Columbia University and spread to other universities in the United States before spreading to European universities.

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When the Israeli war on Gaza broke out following the Al-Aqsa flood attack on October 7 last year, Afgal was on a medical trip with his mother in Egypt, and she insisted on returning to Gaza so until he returned there on the 50th day of the war, he was in his own home. He knew he would never return to Pete Hanoon, the town.

After his family moved to the Nusirat camp in the heart of the Gaza Strip at the start of the war, Afgal and his family moved back to Rafah, on the border with Egypt, in what he hopes will be their third displacement. Return to the town of “Beit Hanoun” in the north of the Gaza Strip.

A displaced child smiles in front of a tent that says thank you for American university students - Raed Musa - Rafa - Al Jazeera Net
In Rafah (Al Jazeera) solidarity universities were thanked in the alleys of displaced persons' tents.

He did not dwell on the question he is often asked: “Why did you return to Gaza when some people are trying to leave?” He responds with a rebuking question: “How do we ask to stand in solidarity with the world before we first stand in solidarity with ourselves and support each other?

He says, “Because we are right and the images coming out of Gaza are painful and the genocidal crimes against people, trees and stones are unprecedented, students in the world are mobilizing, and their movement in the most prestigious universities is by pressuring their regimes to take more radical positions to stop the Israeli genocidal war against Gaza. It had a huge impact.”

From his tent in Rafah to the tents scattered in the courtyards of Western universities, Tafakir says, “As displaced people in Rafah threatened by the ground invasion, we send our greetings to the free students, exchange our solidarity with them, and condemn them. They were abused and arrested, and urged their arms to continue their humanitarian struggle to stop the war and prevent Rafa's invasion.

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Displaced people in Rafah hope student protests in US will succeed in ending Israeli war on Gaza - Raed Musa - Rafah - Al Jazeera Net
Muhammad Hamad hopes the spark of protests and solidarity will spread to Arab and Islamic universities (Al Jazeera).

News from Gaza

In turn, Muhammad Hamad (age 43), a displaced person from the city of Beit Hanoun, who lives next to the thinker in his tent, feels a glimmer of hope from the growth and spread of protest and solidarity movements in Western universities. It is hoped that university students in Arab and Islamic countries will join the ranks of their colleagues at universities in the United States and Europe to exert considerable pressure on regimes to end the occupation.

Muhammad shows great awareness, and tells Al Jazeera Net, “University students form public opinion in any society, and in the United States their movement can have a huge impact and put pressure on the White House. War ahead of preparations for the next US elections.”

Safia Maroof holds her daughter Menna and writes Columbia University's name on her forehead - Raed Musa - Rafa - Al Jazeera Net
Safia Maroof with her daughter Menna written on her forehead at Columbia University (Al Jazeera)

In turn, forty-year-old displaced woman Safia Maruf told Al Jazeera Net, “Thank you to everyone who supports us,” writing “Colombia” on her daughter Menna's (two-year-old) forehead. , praising the student movement in America that started from this university.

Carrying a piece of cardboard between the tents, Safia sent a strong message to protesting students around the world, “Keep pushing and protect the blood of our children,” including her baby Nabil (3). “Thank you, Columbia University students, I love you,” it read in English.

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