Students for Justice in Palestine celebrated the third-annual Palestinian Culture Night with a myriad of Palestinian dishes, presentations and live performances at the MultiCultural Center last night.

The event featured performances ranging from live music to poetry readings as well as presentations regarding environmental justice and myths of Palestine. All of these performances sought to address issues surrounding Palestinian refugees, violence and policies affecting minorities at UCSB. The event was emceed by Navkiran Kaur, a third-year black studies major and representativeof Students for Justice in Palestine.

Fourth-year Middle Eastern studies major Hani Tajsar delivered a presentation titled “Why We Are Here” to debunk the myth that “Palestine people do not exist.” In his talk, Tajsar criticized bipartisan resolution HR 35, a law passed by the California State Assembly that characterizes a wide range of activities on college campuses as “anti-Semitic.”

In addition to Tajsar’s presentation, other performances included poetry readings from a Palestinian native who spoke about life as a refugee. Afterward a drum-off was performed between graduating high school student Ari Marcus and Ph.D ethnomusicology candidate Nicholas Ragheb, both of whom are members of the band Ahl El Hawa, which translates to “People of Love.”

Fourth-year psychology major and Culture night attendee Charlene Macharia said she is not well-versed with Palestinian culture but believes celebrating cultural diversity is an important part of eliminating systematic prejudice.

“It’s nights like these that combat institutional racism,” Macharia said.


This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.