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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Opinion | Stop asking women if they want children
Opinion | Stop asking women if they want children
By Grace Harris, Staff Columnist • 12:19 am
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Opinion | Stop asking women if they want children
Opinion | Stop asking women if they want children
By Grace Harris, Staff Columnist • 12:19 am
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

‘We have to do it for them’: Protest in support of Palestine draws crowd in Schenley Plaza

Protesters+gather+in+Schenley+Plaza+on+Tuesday+afternoon+to+protest+Israeli+military+actions+in+Gaza.
Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer
Protesters gather in Schenley Plaza on Tuesday afternoon to protest Israeli military actions in Gaza.

About 200 students and community members gathered in Schenley Plaza for an emergency “Hands Off Rafah” rally, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation. PSL Member Nick Marco said the most recent violence in Gaza and Israel calls for immediate action.

“They’ve launched a bombing campaign, so it doesn’t get much worse than that,” Marco said. “It’s important that people continue to make their voices heard.”

The rally comes in response to recent military action in Rafah, the southernmost point in Gaza. 133 Palestinians were killed after Israel released air strikes and shellings in the area on Feb. 12. Israel said they took the action to flush out Hamas and pressure the release of Israeli hostages. Since many Palestinians fled to Rafah due to fighting in the more northern parts of Gaza, the area is currently packed with 1.4 million people. 

Protesters gather in Schenley Plaza on Tuesday afternoon to protest Israeli military actions in Gaza. (Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer)

Senior communications and professional writing major Anna Taché said the amount of police at Tuesday’s protest, which included four separate cop cars parked along Schenley Drive, felt overbearing. 

“They always have an excess amount of police presence when there’s Palestine protests,” said Taché. “They’re seemingly overbearing more so than they are to Zionist groups on campus.” 

Steph Pavlick, a representative from Students for Justice in Palestine, followed. She highlighted the struggle Palestinians live in compared to what the protesters face.  

“Sustaining this movement in the U.S. is a small, minuscule task compared to the everyday resistance of simply existing under occupation of the Palestinian people,” Pavlick said. 

This fight is personal for Mia Suwaid, a Palestinian sophomore law, criminal justice and society major. She said students should speak up about Palestinians, especially if they aren’t impacted by the conflict. 

“They don’t have the luxury of being fearful because they’re the ones who are paying the ultimate price, so we have to do it for them,” Suwaid said. “As privileged students and people in the West, that’s our moral duty.”

Suwaid also said the University should put out a statement specifically calling for a ceasefire.

Protesters gather in Schenley Plaza on Tuesday afternoon to protest Israeli military actions in Gaza. (Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer)

Representative from Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee Kate Daher talked about the progress pro-Palestinian organizations have made in the last few months. 

“We are making strides, and I know that’s really hard to see but it is happening,” Daher said. “Our movement is getting bigger in this City and nationally and internationally. We are fighting against those who are fighting against us.”

Member of Pittsburgh Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Coalition Emily DeFerrari gave a list of reasons why sustained protesting is crucial. 

“One — to end the occupation,” DeFerrari said. “Two — provide equal rights. And three — the right of return.”

A Palestinian community member spoke words of encouragement to his fellow Palestinians and those standing in solidarity with them.

“Liberation is inevitable,” the community member said. “So long as we Palestinians have not given up hope and so long as Palestinians live in and around the holy city of Jerusalem, our cause is not lost and we should not wallow in despair for too long.”

Protesters gather in Schenley Plaza on Tuesday afternoon to protest Israeli military actions in Gaza. (Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer)

Child psychiatrist Dr. Claire Cohen followed, calling the Israeli government’s actions “genocidal.” This comes after South Africa filed a case in the UN’s top court, calling the Israeli government’s actions “genocidal in character.”

“There is never ever any justification for genocide,” Cohen said. “All these people carrying on about the lesser evil. Genocide is never the lesser evil. It is the evil.”

Marco ended the rally with a call to action. 

“We want people to email the county council to let them know they need to support [a resolution for a ceasefire]. It’s more important than ever that we continue to put pressure to stop funding genocide,” Marco said.

About the Contributor
Patrick Diana, Staff Writer