Following the Palestine rally yesterday on campus, I spoke with two of the organisers from Loughborough Action for Palestine in an exclusive interview. They described their passion for educating others, humanising Palestinians, and standing up to Loughborough University for what they believe is right.

I first spoke to Organiser A, who is in their final year of studying Politics and International Relations.

Q: “Why is it important for you as an organiser to organise this kind of thing and encourage other students to come down?”

A: “It’s very important to me not as an organiser, more as a human being that people understand that this affects all of us. If we give the government permission to bomb a group of people for no really, really no reason, then we set a precedent for ourselves, for our children and for our children’s children, to keep being complicit and to keep being ignorant to what’s happening around the globe?

“I think the West is very isolated and thinking that we are separate from the actions of our government just because it’s not in our borders. But as an immigrant person myself, it’s clear like it’s affected my country. It’s going to affect all the children who were born in my country. You see my country and think ohh we have to leave here. It’s it’s damaged. It’s broken. And they blame themselves for it being damaged and broken because the West has gotten away with this for so long and separated its population from what’s happening. I understand why people don’t feel like it affects them. But as someone who does politics and international relations, I can tell you, it does affect you. You are responsible and you can do something.”

Q: “Being here today, there’s quite a lot of people, how does it feel for you to see other people turning up?”

A: “It is beautiful. I have felt very isolated in my politics. I’ve been posting about this the past eight months, even before I became part of Loughborough for Action for Palestine. Just seeing the reaction from my community. I work on the media, so I’m running the Instagram. It’s been beautiful. I’m very, very happy about it. I feel very inspired by myself for getting involved and by everyone for also getting involved and understanding that we can address this, we can tackle it together. Elections are coming up, people are becoming increasingly more politically aware, it’s just that time of year, and I hope that our movement at Loughborough can convince people to change their minds, if not convince the institution itself to change.”

Next I spoke to Organiser B, who is in their second year of studies at Loughborough University.

Q: “Why is it important for you to come out here and be present at all these rallies and sort of help organise them all?”

A: “I feel like because Loughborough is, well, there is the thing known as the Loughborough bubble, which a lot of people are aware of. And it really just shows how big of a bubble there is when there are political events happening on campus. Because at the start there was barely anyone, especially on the London campus as well. So we run these events and we’re looking to educate people because there are so many people who may not be on social media, may not see all of these horrific things happening in Rafah and Gaza. So bringing the information and bringing knowledge to the public in on campus just helps educate people who otherwise would not be aware of things like.”

Q: “How does it feel for you to see so many people show up and come here in support of Palestine?”

A: It’s incredible because the post we sent out or the post we create on Instagram for this rally get got 600 plus likes. Which is insane considering it’s a relatively new account. But it’s so good to see because you know Loughborough, an apolitical university, doesn’t necessarily mean that the students of this university are apolitical. It just reminds me that or just reminds all of us how many people care and how many people want to make a difference.

“It demonstrates that to the university, because if it was only kind of a couple people then it wouldn’t have as much of an impact towards management. But if management sees crowds of people come out in support of the same cause and to support the people of Palestine. Then it truly makes a difference.”

Q: “There are people that are still students here, mature students, some people came with their kids, maybe some are staff. We are not sure exactly. But what is the most powerful part of these rallies to you?”

A: “I think it’s definitely when people share their own stories. Oh my goodness, I can’t remember her name, but she’s been incredible because she also helped run the Loughborough Friends for Peace, which is an organisation in town not associated with the campus. They ran an exhibition on Palestine and history and culture and things like that, where they brought out food, dress everything. So she’s been kind of very integral, part of bringing education to the left through public and I think having stories from people who have these connections.

“So for example, there was one thing she was saying about Jaffa cakes. But the Jaffa from our Jaffa cakes was actually because there was a city or town in Palestine before it got changed though, or before the name got changed to Tel Aviv called Jaffa (I believe). And they were known for their oranges. So they made these orange biscuits, which we know is Jaffa cakes. So it’s information like that which sticks with people and then also the stories that they tell and how people are affected personally by these issues. So just seeing everyone come together as a community to give speeches and educate and let everyone know how this affects them affects everyone else.”

Q: “The university aren’t showing any signs of budging on their stance, so what’s next for you guys?”

A: “Yeah, we’ve got a new open letter that we will be looking to hand deliver to VC Nick Jennings and or higher members of Management at Loughborough University so that they can’t say that they didn’t receive it. They didn’t know about it, even though the previous open letter got over 1400 signatures and no response from the university. So it just seems that they are going to keep ignoring us until we are able to do something that gets their attention physically. So our next steps are to hand deliver the open letter. And then look at educating people on the culture of Palestine.

“So similar to the Palestinian Exhibition that was held in John Storer house earlier this month. I believe it just shows people that Palestinians aren’t just numbers. It shows the culture and the history and the heritage and everything that makes a Palestinian who they are, or connect with their culture. And I just think that’s very moving in a different way. So having things like that around campus would also help to draw attention to what we’re fighting for.”


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