In response to the violence and attacks occurring between Palestine and Israelis, most recently amid the beginning of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, University student group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality organized a candlelight vigil in honor of the lives that have been lost in the conflict and to raise awareness of the issue among students and the Ann Arbor community.
SAFE co-chair Tala Dahbour, an LSA junior, said the goal of Thursday’s candlelight vigil, which attracted about 50 people, was less about politics and more to remember and send thoughts and prayers to those killed and their families.
“Over the past ten days, the people of Gaza have endured crimes against humanity, war crimes, hospitals being hit, mosques being hit, and children being killed on the beach out of so-called self defense by the Israeli government," she said.
"Unfortunately around 240 people have been killed, so we are just here to commemorate them. We are here to listen and to remember. Students and really anyone who is interested should get involved.”
SAFE co-chair Laith Hasan, a junior in the Ross School of Business said along with a protest, scheduled for Friday, the vigil was meant to inform the community in a peaceful way.
“We are here to spread awareness about the murders going on in Gaza right now. The media is portraying it one way, and I think no one is really thinking about all of the people, the Palestinians, who have died. I think we should just take a moment to acknowledge that out of respect for the Palestinians that are dying,” Hasan said.
University alum Serena Rabie spoke to the group about her humanitarian reasons for attending the vigil. Regardless of where someone was born, their religion, or their ethnicity, she said the lives lost deserve to be remembered.
“A human life is a human life. They just happened to be born in the wrong place, a place of great turmoil," she said. "As we have this moment of silence, I think we also need to have a moment of gratitude, because as Palestinians we are lucky in this country to not to have to stand for the way these people are being treated. They are no different than anyone here, it’s just the circumstances of their birth."