Being away from home is hard enough, adding in a war makes it worse.
This is a sentiment shared by Eyal Rawitz from Tel Aviv, Israel, and Nawar Albarak from Kuwait, a country that borders Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Though she isn’t from Palestine, her grandmother and many other family members are there.
Rawitz and Albarak, though they are both students at Ball State University, had the chance to meet and discuss their experiences with each other at the Scramble Light on Friday during a pro-Palestian protest that called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Though the two were surrounded by honking cars and people holding signs, they were able to have a civil discussion.
Rawitz disagreed with Albarak, but he appreciated the civil discussion and he believed in “many perspectives. The more the merrier.”
Rawitz disagreed with a ceasefire, even though he’d like to have one.
“Both sides have committed some bad stuff, but to me, a ceasefire will probably mean [the] death of more Jews or more of my people, which I will obviously be against forever,” he said.
Rawtiz wants others to know that “most people want peace.”
Rawitiz, a Ball State volleyball player, described the distance from his family as everything and that being away from home is hard, especially now with a war. Due to him studying in business administration at Ball State, he’s missed funerals.
“I'm doing whatever I can to try and support from here,” he said. “Whether it's just a show of love and support, or explanation [to] try to bring some more perspective, but always to keep it civilized and peaceful because more violence is just going to cause more violence.”
Albarak said the protest being held at the Scramble Light meant “a great deal” to her, especially because she has grown up with the tension between Israel and Palestine her entire life.
The counseling psychology graduate student said it has felt isolating and scary to be away from home, especially as “a visibly Arab woman.”
“Seeing all of these students up here in the corner supporting Palestine makes me feel a lot safer,” she said. “It makes me feel very validated, and it kind of restores my faith a little bit more, and humanity and education.”
Alabarak asks people to educate themselves on the situation, as well as to use media literacy and to think critically and a humanitarian manner.
Anthony Hayes, a May 2023 theater directing graduate, attended the protest in support of the free Palestine movement and of a ceasefire.
“I think that a lot of people need to continue to educate themselves on the situation,” Hayes said.
Hayes believes calling state senators and representatives will build support for a ceasefire, as well as helping to stop a bill proposed by Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana).
The bill, H.R 6211 or the Safeguarding Americans from Extremism (SAFE) Act, would expel Palestinians from the United States in hopes of preventing terrorists from entering the country if passed. The SAFE Act would put a pause on all visas, refugee statuses and granting of asylum to people who have a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority. The bill would also revoke visas and entrance of Palestinians previously granted on or after October 1, 2023, according to a press release from Zinke.
Joining Hayes was a small crowd of other protestors, such as Cooper Archer, first-year history major.
Archer learned of the protest on social media and joined because the movement has been inspiring for him.
“What I've seen I can’t stand for that, and I want to say that I've tried to do something,” he said.
Associate Lifestyles Editor Ella Howell contributed to this article.