By Sarah Jaber Photography Editor
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) planned an open event called “Eyes in Gaza” to give students an opportunity to hear the stories of a Gaza resident and witness life behind the statistics.
SJP set up a “Skype date” with current Gaza resident, Nader Elkhuzundar. Nader is a twenty-four–year-old male who lived in the United Arab Emirates until he was six-years-old. He then moved to Gaza and has never left or hasn’t left since
After introducing Nader, students listened to him describe life in Gaza, including his personal stories, struggles and dreams. He began by describing the school system and the typical environment of Gaza.
He stated that primary schools would have more than 45 students per classroom and that the overall streets of Gaza are loud and filled with garbage. The overcrowding is due to the lack of supplies allowed to enter Gaza while the garbage is mostly due to the lack of a proper sanitation system in effect of the siege. He claimed that most citizens are young and that Christians are a minority, although in Gaza they are the ones given the “ultimate freedom” of choice in comparison to the Palestinians.
“The way he described everything was so real. Hearing his accounts first hand was so much more influential than a lot of what I had read about,” said junior Amira Saleh.
Towards the end of the event, students were given the opportunity to ask Nader whatever they wanted about his life in Gaza. One student asked Nader to describe some of what he saw during the 2009 Israeli attacks on Gaza in Operation Castlead.
In response, Nader simply replied, “words could not suffice”. He put it simply that he could hear the screams everywhere he went and that he could spot tanks from two kilometers away.
“His descriptions for some of the atrocities left me shocked. I could not imagine the amount of pain Nader went through. I was grateful to hear his stories,” said Freshman Dana Mourad.
One student also asked Nader to describe some of the challenges in transportation. Nader relied by saying that “it is much easier to get to the moon than to get to Tel Aviv”.
Tel Aviv is a city in Israel and anyone with a Palestinian citizenship is not allowed to enter. Nader added that traveling to many of those guarded cities is but a dream to him at this point.
“It was really an eye opening experience. Hearing about the life of another can really make you see your life in another way,” expressed senior Sarah Shams.