Students for a Free Palestine Hosts Nakba Vigil


Abe Frato

Students held a vigil Sunday for the 74th anniversary of the Nakba on Tappan Square.

On Sunday, Students for a Free Palestine commemorated the 74th anniversary of the Nakba with a vigil on Tappan Square. The Nakba marks the day in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Israeli forces. The Oberlin vigil featured a number of student speakers and a candle lighting in honor of murdered and displaced Palestinans.

College first-year, vigil organizer, and international student from Palestine Farah Sabbah spoke about her exposure to violence as a child at Sunday’s vigil.

“Before going there and speaking, I was actually so nervous, but at the same time I wanted to … talk about my experience living in Gaza my whole life and share it with students here who don’t know anything about Palestine or what’s going on there,” Sabbah said.

College third-year and vigil organizer Osama Abdelrahman also spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of speaking out against the ethnic cleansing and other injustices Palestinians suffer.

“In a situation of injustice, there is no such thing as ‘I’m not taking sides,’” Abdelrahman said. “You have to take sides; you have to find where the truth is and support it, because if you’re not supporting the truth or if you’re not taking sides, then you are basically on the side of the oppressor.”

Many students gathered on the lawn around Memorial Arch to listen to the speakers talk about the need for more active support for Palestine. However, College second-year and vigil organizer Lulu Chebaro noted that there was still more work to be done.

“It was a good turnout, and I think people that were there really cared and were really present and listening,” Chebaro said. “But if you look at a lot of other events we have on this campus, … a shocking amount of people were not there. Honestly, the turnout is really telling of a larger issue on this campus where people just don’t care.”

Despite this, the vigil served as an important platform to allow students to grieve for murdered and displaced Palestinians, including Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last week.

“As a child [I] experienced all of this — someone my age shouldn’t experience such things,” Sabbah said. “People should speak up about what is happening there and what’s going on there because it’s worse than you actually would expect.”