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Gaza student reads moving poem at defend Palestine campus action in Surabaya

CNN Indonesia - May 7, 2024

Surabaya – The Surabaya Muhammadiyah University (UM) academic community held a defend Palestine action on the campus grounds on Tuesday May 7 in which lectures and students were united wearing black clothing and carrying Palestinian flags.

In addition they also brought protesters with the action title "Long Live Palestine, Freedom for Palestine".

The action was opened by Palestinian student Sondos Jehad Shnewra who read out a chain poem titled "This Land is Our Land" along with other foreign students: Monthita Boonmaloet, Ansoree Dakama, Furkon Kasor, Taofid Jehleng and Niwasee Nitayarak from Thailand, Fares Alsadig Shomo Ibrahim from Sudan, Mohammed Akram Mohammed Ezzaldeen from Yemen as well as Karisma from Indonesia.

Shnewra shed tears during the action admitting she has a childhood trauma about Israel's brutality in her homeland, Gaza.

"I hope this is enough for Palestine to be able to be free. I have experience there, I have feel it. I've seen it all, it was very terrible", said Shnewra.

Shnewra expressed her gratitude for the solidarity and support of the Indonesian people, especially from the academic community at UM Surabaya. Through her poetry, she hopes the day will come when her country is free from the threats and prisons of her enemies.

"I pray and truly hope that Palestine can [one day] experience days that are peaceful and calm without there being feelings of anxiety every day", said Shnewra, who is undergoing postgraduate studies in Islamic religious studies at UM Surabaya.

Aside from reading poetry, the students also held a theatrical action with the theme "liberation", which began by depicting a Palestinian married couple who suffer atrocities by Israel.

During the theatrical action, the married couple was tied up brutally. Then two students emerged as saviors. This action was a symbol condemning the repressive acts by Israel against the Palestinian people.

The action was closed with activities around the campus putting up Palestine maps at different points as support for Palestinian independence.

UM Surabaya Deputy Chancellor Ma'ruf Sya'ban emphasised that they support Palestinian independence and condemn Israel's military aggression in Gaza. He said simultaneous actions are being held on Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah campuses throughout Indonesia.

"The aim is to support Palestinian freedom. Especially criticising the aggression by Israel against Palestine", he said.

Sya'ban said he hopes that the Indonesian government will continue to provide support and aid to the Palestinian people.

"We will always convey this to the government, particularly that the Indonesian government continue to support Palestine. In this case humanitarian assistance, both morally and so forth", he said.

The following is the poem read out by Shnewra:

This Land is Our Land
Our children's food here has been scattered and wasted
The sound of crying is increasingly frail
Which embraces the dust
We have passed these wells before others
Alas honorable people
This land belongs to us
The plants upon it belong to us
The crude oil under it is ours and all that exists
This land before and in the future is ours
But why in the cold, are we only dressed in nakedness?
Why in hunger, do we only eat hunger?
Why are we immersed in the middle of a black puddle among these wells?
Every day watching over life
Every day harvesting the sun, the dusk, and the night
Hiding and praying


[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "UM Surabaya Gelar Aksi Bela Palestina, Mahasiswi Asal Gaza Baca Puisi".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240507133324-20-1094973/um-surabaya-gelar-aksi-bela-palestina-mahasiswi-asal-gaza-baca-puis