Maryam Alhassani

Occupation: Student

University: George Washington University

Organization(s): Coordinating Committee for Students in Justice in Palestine

I am an Iraqi Muslim American that was born in California to immigrant parents. My involvement in SJP was not the beginning of my journey in fighting for equality and justice for the Palestinians. I have been involved in seeking justice since I was little and I was taught chants such as “no justice, no peace” and “the people united will never be defeated”. We were born taught that our Palestinian brothers and sisters come to this life with no human rights. We were taught about the occupation and the injustice that is happening not only in Palestine, but around the world- from Iraq to Libya, from Yemen to Syria. Arabs are born occupied by Western powers and our identities have shaped our strength in fighting for justice.

When I joined SJP at GWU, I was not expecting the amount of hatred that we would get. I learned quickly about the environment of our campus and began working towards understanding what the best way is to approach scenarios A through Z. My freshman year, we launched the first divestment campaign which failed by one vote. Throughout the process, we received external attacks such as being yelled at and called terrorists. This was nothing new for me because I wear the hijab, but I found it to be alarming because they’re not attacking me because of my faith, they were attacking me because I was fighting for human rights of the Palestinians. During the summer, my canary mission profile went up and to be honest I wasn’t surprised that it would happen. I knew what I was doing when I decided to become more public in my involvement, I knew that they would always try to science us through oppression and illegal tactics. I also knew that I wouldn’t want to work for any organization that believes in canary mission. That being said, I also found it to be completely disgusting that such blacklist exists to try and take Palestinian voices down. Then, my sophomore year (current) we launched again, and we received a wave of attention from Zionist organizations that called the vote anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

Canary mission agents went around campus posting flyers and stickers that demanded the vote be public instead of secret ballot. I felt their presence. This was no longer students and people who work for canary, who are hiding behind their screens. They came to my campus dressed in hoodies and were threatening us. Luckily, I removed my sense of fear a while ago, so my emotions were anger and the need to organize. I am now still fighting for Palestinian rights because no racist, blacklist will stop me from fighting for what I believe in. You don’t have to be Palestinian or Muslim or Arab to care about human rights. You just have to be human. So keep on resisting, keep on fighting, because justice will prevail.