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The Student News Site of San Marcos High School

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The People for Palestine

The National March on Washington: Free Palestine signifies the World coming together in support of Gaza
Soraya Tahiri
March for a free Palestine in front of the White House where protestors are waving Palestinian flags.

Red and green smoke filled the afternoon sky in Washington D.C.  as chants powerfully boomed in the November air, “Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!” Crimson hand prints were scattered on monuments to show acknowledgment of the 2 million lives claimed by the Israeli airstrikes that continue to fill the Gazan night sky. On Nov. 4 an estimated 300,000 people made history in Washington, D.C. for the largest protest for Palestine in the history of the United States.





San Marcos High sophomore Soraya Tahiri attended the National March on Washington: Free Palestine with her family. Tahiri reminisces on the atmosphere, explaining that there were so many people who showed up to support that she couldn’t see where the protest ended or began. “It was so good to see so many people from different walks of life. There were different religions, races, and there were orthodox rabbis in the hundreds, it was really cool,” Tahiri said.

This historical protest amplified the support for Palestinians facing genocide under Israel’s occupation. Guest speakers ranged from Imam Omar Suleiman, Presidential candidate Cornel West, and families of those who have been killed in Gaza. The grievances of the Palestinian people were on display for the White House to hear, see and feel. One speaker in particular stood out to Tahiri.

“Josh Paul [a former director of the U.S. Department of State], resigned because of how the Biden administration was reacting to Israel’s apartheid, he had the courage to talk about that,” said Tahiri.

People of political status like Josh Paul, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush, and Presidential candidate Cornel West, encourage Americans to keep up their solidarity with Palestine and push for an immediate, permanent ceasefire. The death toll in Gaza surpasses 30,000 humans, not including those who are permanently disfigured, displaced, or missing, as reported by NBC News. The Free Palestine movement has gained a huge following. Tahiri puts it in simple terms, “It’s standing up for humanity.”

Palestinian students feel the unshakable support that has been rising over the past five months. Demonstrating their culture in an expressive way has become vital in preserving their identity for the world to see. San Marcos High senior Suendus Zubaidi said, “Seeing all the support for Palestine feels like we are finally being heard and seen. After 75 years of being portrayed as ‘barbaric terrorists,’ people are now seeing how beautiful the Palestinian culture is and how resilient and strong the Palestinian people are.”

Rallying is only one form of protesting that is felt around the world, another is expression. Keffiyehs, black and white scarves embroidered with fishnets, olive branches, and trading route motifs, are worn in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The map of Palestine is being reclaimed through t-shirts and necklaces, and “END THE GENOCIDE” stickers are used to bring about awareness. Zubaidi said, “I am more loud about my culture… I have the opportunity to share and educate people on Palestine and I can do it way better now than I ever could when I was younger.”

Zubaidi isn’t the only Palestinian-American who expressed her stance on the inflicted humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “There are more and more people waking up and finally understanding the terror of what’s going on, but it’s still not enough. The more people understand and realize, the better it will get,” said senior Kareem Awad. 

Invoking empathy and educating the general public is vital in having the world see Gaza’s grievances, and hopefully, contribute to their justice. Instagram accounts like eye.on.palestine and the widely loved journalists, Motaz Azaiza and Bisan Owda are capturing the atrocities of Israel’s apartheid regime and making it known to the world. 

Tahiri said, “I hope that people educate themselves, open their eyes to the facts, and speak up for the truth. This mass genocide of innocent civilians…will be written in the history books.  It would be tragic to find that when this is all over, to have to admit to yourself, that you turned a blind eye and remained silent in the face of such a blatant war crime; a genocide.”

The March for a Free Palestine invoked more voices to be heard, perspectives to be expanded, and sympathy to reach the people of Gaza;  a united revolution standing for justice against the oppressors. Tahiri said it best, “The world cannot escape the truth, and so, as humanity, we must stand up for the oppressed, and we will, until this mass-murder of innocent lives has ceased for good and peace is established.”

Staying on the right side of history has been a strongly held moral theme for this generation. Zubaidi explains that this cause is inspiring people to take action on all injustices around the world like the travesties happening in Sudan, DR of Congo, Turtle Island and unfortunately many other countries. “More people [are] becoming sick and tired of the atrocities plaguing our world and the Western world’s part to play in all of them,” Zubaidi said, “People’s perspectives are changing, there is more distrust in our governments and major news outlets… I think it’s going to take a while but as long as we don’t forget and we do not stop applying pressure with protests, boycotts, and shutdowns… change can be made.”

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About the Contributor
Fatima Hamideh
Fatima Hamideh, Editor
Fatima Hamideh is a Senior at San Marcos High School. She joined Pendragon because she is passionate about learning and sharing stories through writing.

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    Abdullah TahiriMar 31, 2024 at 8:05 am

    Thank you for elevating the voices of the oppressed and the occupied by the genocidal State of Israel that is sadly supported by our tax dollars.