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Students walk out of class, fundraise for Palestine

Students gather in Brown Garden after walking out of classes in support of Palestine Oct. 25. Francesca Nemati / Thresher

By Spring Chenjp     10/27/23 2:08pm

Students walked out of class to chant and make posters in support of Palestine as part of an event organized by Rice Students for Justice in Palestine in Brown Garden at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25. The walkout came as the Israel-Hamas war continued into its third week.

The Rice Muslim Student Association also held a fundraiser that day, where all proceeds were to be donated to the non-profit organization Islamic Relief, according to MSA’s Instagram post. 

Duncan College senior Deema Beram said part of the reason she joined the protest was due to her identity as an Iraqi refugee. 

“What the West is doing in the Middle East right now is exactly what they did in 2003,” Beram said. “That is why I had to leave my home. That is why my family and I had to flee.”

Beram cited violence against Palestinians as another key reason she was protesting.

“This morning I saw a video of a Palestinian child with his legs blown off and his face melted off,” Beram said. “It reminded me of how one of my aunts died. Her face was also melted off and she was completely unrecognizable. I think the least I can do is show my support and show up.”

Lovett College senior Debi Saha said she walked out due to her disapproval of United States military aid to Israel. The U.S. currently provides Israel with $3.8 billion dollars per year in military assistance, according to the Department of State.

“I’m really upset that our taxpayer dollars are being used to fund ethnic cleansing,” Saha said. “Regardless of what Hamas did, genocide is not acceptable.”

The protest filled the courtyard. Students engaged in protest chants such as “Free, free Palestine” and “One, two, three, four; genocide no more.” Rice SJP declined to comment on the walkout.

Shortly after the walkout, Rice MSA began its fundraiser, selling boba and Palestinian flags in Ray’s Courtyard as a part of its annual Charity Week.

Claire Morton, who purchased boba tea at MSA’s fundraiser, said they learned about the walkout from the recent Rice SJP teach-in.

“I was already in support of the Palestinian cause and against Israeli imperialism,” Morton, a Brown College sophomore, said. “But I'm glad to be involved in real action and [supporting] in any way that I can, through showing up at protests and contributing monetarily.”

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