During our stay in Michigan, our Illuminated team was invited by community members to the protest for Palestine. Most of our team had never been to a protest before. After voting on it and discussing it as a team, we decided it would be beneficial to go and experience this event in order to learn more about the conflict. Below is a report from our student-intern, Jean Carlos Hinojosa, about his understanding of the conflict. You can read more about the day of the protest here.
By: Jean Carlos Hinojosa July 13, 2014
DETROIT – This morning I woke up like any other day, but something different happened because we went to a protest. The protest was about the situation of the Palestinian people because they are suffering killings, arrests, and being controlled.
First, when I heard about the situation of Gaza, many things came to my mind such as: why is this happening? When did this start? What does the government do to stop it? I was very confused, but at the same time I was interested in learning more. The protest was about the war between Israel and Palestine. The problem started after the Jews were expelled from their place during the Holocaust. So, for this reason they moved to Palestine. In 1947 Jewish refugees and their communities increased because a group of Jewish refugees came to Palestine looking for refuge. In the process, they invaded the place and took control over it and the Palestinians had to run away. Later, two states were created: the Arab and the Jewish.
Then, Israel began to increase in size and continued to expand their power in other areas. This meant that all the places where Palestinians lived were invaded by Israel. During Israel’s invasion, they murdered, burned, and even destroyed everything to get this objective to increase the power and take control of everything. While the war was going on, the Palestinian people had to leave from their homes. Then, the Palestinians began to form small camps to survive in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and in Lebanon. The problem for Israel and Palestine was Israel wanted most of the land and natural resources and did not care about the lives of the Palestinians.
When Israel took power in West Bank, that changed the life of each Palestinian because it had a big effect. Israel controlled everything such as schools and hospitals, and even established military bases. This affected the Palestinians because they had to have a permanent passport to enter the West Bank. The West Bank was separated and divided into unequal conditions. This means that in the same area, there was a place for Palestinians and another for Israelis where Israelis dominated the natural resources and even the water. Later, Israel and Palestine tried to make a treaty of peace. But, when Israel and Palestine were discussing about the solutions, the United States became involved in this case and supported Israel to take more control in Palestine. The United States supported Israel by providing military weapons and tanks – those weapons are oppressing the Palestinian people today.
During the protest, there was a lot of diversity, and I saw many people who have similar ideas and thoughts as I did. For example, Jews, Christians, Muslims – all those people like me were showing support for the human rights, freedom, and Palestinian independence as a nation. So, we went there to show that their fight is our fight. This is because we are all human and we are the same no matter if you are rich or poor because inside we all have a heart full of life and should have opportunities to progress as humans.
I feel bad for all the children who are dying in Gaza because of bombings. It’s not fair. It is really sad to me seeing humanity destroying itself. I imagine someone suffering alone with no one else and that hurts me. Now, I think when there are a lot of people that don’t even have place to sleep or a bathroom to use, they don’t need to suffer alone because we can do something to help them. For this reason I say that their fight is our fight. Also, this could happen in to any other place too.
Student Yennifer Iven said, “Just as a grain of salt can change taste, I want to change humanity.” Protesting is a way to help young people because it gives the hope of making a difference to get the victory even if the victory is small.