Palestinian Students Recount Feelings of ‘Survivor’s Guilt’

Young Palestinians living and studying abroad say they are tied to social media with a sense of helplessness as they follow the repercussions from the most recent violence back home.“You kind of get, like, survivor’s guilt. You know, like, ‘Why is it not me that that’s happening to?’ and ‘What, like, what can I do to help these people?’ ” described Mona Salah, a law student at Bristol University in the United Kingdom.Protests broke out in early May after the Israeli Supreme Court sanctioned the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with reporters in Amman, Jordan, May 26, 2021.FILE – A man opens social media app TikTok on his cellphone, in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 21, 2020.FILE – Pro-Israel supporters chant slogans during a rally in support of Israel outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles, May 12, 2021.Some Jewish students in the U.S. see the boycott as reverse discrimination.”We oppose the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement and its efforts to isolate and demonize the only Jewish democratic state in the world,” said Nathan Edelman, as a senator with the Illinois Student Government in September 2020. “Past BDS referendums and resolutions have only increased hate, hostility and mistrust on our campus.”Western universities not always responsivePalestinians studying outside the West Bank and Gaza said they found it difficult to connect with others about their identity, and their universities’ responses to recent events have been sparse.“Everyone kind of has this experience that the university sends out an email about a current political issue and has mental health awareness and stuff like that, and you know, who to reach out to, if you’re troubled by what’s going on and stuff like that.” Salah shared.“But suddenly, because this is such a, you know, controversial topic, we didn’t get any of the, for the Palestinian cause, which is really concerning,” she said.Students said it can be challenging to find people they can share their heritage with.“I’m very proud to be Palestinian. But it’s very sad that up until, you know, about a year ago, I wasn’t comfortable just being like, ‘Oh, I’m Palestinian,’ because a lot of people prior to these two weeks, didn’t even know what Palestine was,” Elrayes explained.

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