GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Sept. 15, 2022) The past two months have been nothing short of eventful for the Students for Justice in Palestine Club (SJP) at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q). SJP, currently led by Zaina K. ‘24, Zain A. ‘23, along with Hala H. ‘25 and Mahrukh B. ‘23, has been present on campus since 2020. Throughout the years, the importance of SJP’s mission has been consistently reinforced by the need to serve as a voice for the Palestinian cause as the occupied state continues to undergo oppression.
Beginning in late August, SJP introduced its Intersectionality Series, consisting of several events hosted in collaboration with other clubs including the Black Student Association, Muslim Student Association, and the Lebanese Club. These events highlighted many themes such as shared struggles experienced by Palestinians and other groups along with discourse concerning the Palestinian cause’s place in the Muslim world. Led by accomplished professors in their respective fields, the talks contributed largely to the education of the GU-Q community while facilitating informed debate and discussion on the topics. As of September, the Intersectionality Series remains ongoing as SJP searches for more clubs to collaborate with on other relevant topics.
The SJP’s efforts do not stop there as the early hours of the 15th of September were marked by subtle signs around the atrium foreshadowing an intriguing event, Palestinian Night, scheduled to take place later that day. “Resistance Through Art” were the words plastered visibly against the atrium’s prominent brown wall, surrounded by multiple posters displaying original Palestinian poetry, art, and symbolism that reflected that country’s rich history as well as expressions of resistance. As the day progressed, so did the preparations that left the atrium gracefully adorned with traditional artifacts and ornaments depicting Palestinian heritage and culture.
The evening had finally arrived and the official event had begun as students and staff from all over Education City made their way into GU-Q where the Palestinian flag could be spot hung clearly at the center of the stage. SJP had introduced its leading organizers as each one took turns briefly delivering remarkable speeches that highlighted the importance of Palestinian Night and its theme, Resistance Through Art.
The opening act of the night included a mellifluous Oud rendition that was followed by an impeccable recital of poetry by a professor and student. Mahmoud Darwish’s “Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?” made up a part of the recital that was delivered in both Arabic and English and captured the essence of the Palestinian struggle. A number of acts followed that were complemented by traditional music that was played throughout the night.
Attendees had been encouraged beforehand to arrive in Palestinian attire, traditional clothing from their own cultures, or colors representing the Palestinian flag to enhance the night’s atmosphere. SJP’s request had proven to be well-received as many of the students and staff arrived in colorful and eye-catching attire. A fashion show had been delivered during which the regional history of the intricate designs on several dresses and thobes was explained.
Despite the remarkable nature of all the acts, it was the Dabke performance that truly stood out and heightened the people’s spirits. Having invited a professional group of traditional Palestinian dancers to perform the Dabke, SJP offered all its attendees the unforgettable experience of witnessing and even partaking in the festive Arabic celebration.
The night culminated with guests being served traditional and classic Palestinian dishes that ranged from savory to sweet. As attendees revisited many of the unique displays of heritage, they had the opportunity to take pictures at a booth set up to capture a fragment of the country’s vast beauty. Palestinian Night ultimately proved to need no photograph to make it unforgettable as it introduced and highlighted the beauty and vitality of Palestinian culture.