On Nov. 2, students gathered in front of the Otter Student Union (OSU) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to hold a silent protest against the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The protest coincided with CSUMB’s weekly Otter Thursday event.
Around 15 students lined the curb in front of the OSU displaying a banner reading “Ceasefire Now,” drawing attention from those passing by and attending Otter Thursday.
In addition to their silent protest, students showed solidarity with Palestine by displaying the Palestinian flag and stacks of pamphlets on an adjacent table. The pamphlets provided more information on the history and humanitarian impacts of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
As they passed by the table, many students picked up buttons with slogans reading “Ceasefire Now!” and “End Israeli Apartheid.”
“Today is about raising awareness for a ceasefire … to prevent as many lives on both sides [from being lost],” said Edwin Lopez, a fourth-year global studies major. “From Republicans to Democrats, only one senator has called for a ceasefire. We want to make sure that this isn’t [viewed as] a partisan issue, as both major political parties are supportive of Israel. Therefore it is up to us as citizens to raise our voice.”.
In their presence, the students demonstrated how to give voice to an issue without saying a word, and made their demands for peace hard to miss.
“Silence is more of a tactical decision because we’ve seen other protests being turned into acts of aggression; the second you put up an attacking position, you’re continuing a cycle of violence that really doesn’t have an end until one side demands peace,” Lopez said.
For another student who wished to remain anonymous, “[This protest is] about standing on the side of the oppressed … my conviction for being out here is that I don’t want to stand on the sidelines while there’s genocide happening, and I feel that is what’s happening.”
“In the United States, we are all very complicit in this whether or not we want to be – we’re part of funding the [Israeli] military, and that in and of itself is very combative. If we are people who [want] peace, then taking a very non-violent stance seems very powerful,” the student said.
Lopez emphasized his belief in the importance of “raising awareness, calling our representatives, having these protests. [We need] more actions like this to put pressure on Israel to honor international law.”
Lopez notes, however, that the first step toward peace is simply to “get educated” about the issue.