I contacted the school’s administration to express to them how the selling of Sabra hummus in Cafe 77 makes me feel excluded from the W&L community. I explained in my emails and in-person talks with the dean and the EC’s president how Sabra is co-owned by Pepsi Co and the Strauss Group which proudly broadcasts their devotion to a mission that provides support for the Golani brigade, the most notorious brigade in the Israeli army and one that came so close to my own house in tanks and bulldozers the 2014 war and resulted in the killing of my neighbors and friends.
My own survival everyday in the Gaza Strip is considered a miracle. My request of the school was nothing but to be neutral in the face of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and did not even ask them for any act of justice towards my people.
I explained how Sabra hummus is obviously not the only snack the school could provide. Yet, my request was faced with the “solution” of providing another option, Hope Hummus “alongside” Sabra. This, to me, was a spit in the face because none of our food should support apartheid and genocide.
What made it even worse is how the school never made any announcements to explain to the W&L community why this alternative was provided, because a lot of these members would actually never want to purchase Sabra again if they knew what it funds. I realized at that point that I had to do the job of spreading awareness on my own. I made flyers and started tabling in commons and started asking people to sign a petition to replace Sabra.
A friend of mine once texted me telling me that as soon as I left, some guys gathered all the flyers and threw them in the trash. On another incident, a student asked me if I “was allowed to be tabling in the commons”. I’ve never seen anyone else come across people tabling in commons and ask if they had a permission to be tabling.
Another student came to yell at me and my friend when we were tabling, and associated the topic of me advocating for the human rights of my people in Palestine to my religion, and told me that I actually have to consider why my religion of Islam through the Qur’an tells me “to kill everyone who doesn’t agree with [me]”. Another student picked up a flyer from my friend when he was tabling and put in the trash right in front of him.
At W&L, some members of the community find it too much for someone to suggest helpful changes to the culture, and to ask to feel included.