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The Israel-Hamas War: what can college students do to help Palestinians?

Shareef Sarhan
Olivia Buckel shares ways for students to support the Palestinian cause.

With over 9,000 people killed in the last month –  at least 3,800 being children – the conflict in the Middle East between Hamas and Israel is one of the worst instances of violence that the area has faced in the last 25 years. Statistics like these are inundated on social media currently, which overwhelms TikTok for-you-pages and Instagram explore pages every second of each day. 

It is easy for people to feel helpless in such a time before social media was a thing, but now that it has become so normalized that these feelings of helplessness are only magnified. For many, there can be moments when it feels like there is no escape from the pain and suffering happening across the ocean. These feelings are not only valid but more common than one might think.

However, there are things that can be done on John Carroll’s campus that help those suffering from this conflict. These actions, no matter how small, help more than just the people suffering in Palestine, but also to help one exert some control over something that feels so out of control.

The first example of an action that can be taken is simple: donations. As college students, it can be hard to scrape together large sums of money. Luckily, there are opportunities to make a difference. There are a multitude of GoFundMe’s and organizations that match two meals for every one dollar given or a pair of socks for each cent. This is the entire world to a child in Palestine, only for one dollar. The website BuildPalestine gives a detailed list of other organizations that provide relief to Palestine for very little money. They also administer security checks on each organization, ensuring that every cent given is going to the people in need.

 If you are not able to donate money, there is another option available to help that is more precious: time. This includes talking with others, protesting and educating oneself. To support Palestinians, it is important to get an accurate (as well as nuanced) view of what is exactly happening, as well as the history that has led to such violence. The best way to do this is through research instead of through the news, as newly published academic studies have found that U.S. newspapers are more than twice as likely to cite Israeli sources in headlines than Palestinian ones. Books, peer-reviewed articles as well as primary sources are good places to start. 

Through education conversations, you can spread the word about this tragedy, potentially leading to more donations. This can lead to more donations. This leads to more relief and the cycle continues.

Finally, exercise your rights in the democracy we live in. Write to representatives, senators and even the president to call for a ceasefire and an end to the bombing of Gaza. Vote for politicians who support Palestine. Use the gift of freedom of speech to raise Palestinian voices. It costs nothing.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Buckel
Olivia Buckel, Media Beat Reporter
Olivia Buckel is a Media Beat Reporter for The Carroll News. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania, and is currently a freshman at JCU. She is majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration as well as a Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies minor. She is also in the Honors Program In addition to writing for The Carroll News, Olivia is also a part of the Honors Service Board, as well as the JCU Allies Club and the Women and Allies Coalition. She is also a Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Ambassador and a prose editor for The Carroll Review. During her free time, Olivia enjoys reading fantasy books, writing fantasy stories, and watching fantasy TV. In the future, Olivia hopes to be an editor for a publishing house or magazine.  

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    Patrick MadiganNov 18, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Great article, Olivia!
    Several other suggestions on “…what can college students
    do to help Palestinians?” :

    – Students can blog or comment on various news articles
    to mention about Palestinian Rights. (An organized effort
    to influence public opinion is already being done by the Pro-
    Israel side.)

    – One can also contact groups like Cleveland Peace Action
    or the Cleveland Chapter of C.A.I.R. (Council on American-
    Islamic Relations). These organizations might have
    suggestions on what one can do to help.

    BTW – A Pro-Palestinian protest is scheduled to take place at Playhouse Square this Monday, November 20th, at 4:00pm.
    Also, a Save Gaza Rally & March is scheduled for Saturday,
    November 25th at 3:00pm at City Center Park (14900 Detroit
    Rd.) in the City of Lakewood.