New York, March 2, 2011—OneVoice activists Roza Helou and Dana Sender visited the highly polarized Rutgers University campus on Feb. 14 to speak with students about their efforts on the ground to achieve a two-state solution and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Quarrelling student groups seemed too tired to quarrel about the conflict, resorting instead to total disassociation from one another. "Fighting amongst yourselves over here, all the way across the ocean, isn't really helping us," Dana told a small class taught by the esteemed Professor Samuel Peleg, a founding member of OneVoice.
Two hours later, OneVoice's main event remained free from the angry clashes that have marred Rutgers campus discourse in the past six months. Unfortunately, the college felt exhausted.
"I wanted them to come," said Roza, on the absence of pro-Palestinian elements at the event. "Even if all they wanted to do was lash out at me, I would rather they did that than not show up at all."
The great many who did attend the event listened intently to Dana and Roza's stories and left inspired, but there was a nagging feeling that their inspiration was not matched by the resources that the more vociferous and overwhelmingly pessimistic students possess.
"The idea of leaving past disagreements behind and trying to move forward makes a lot of sense," one Rutgers sophomore said, "I'd like to encourage people who are willing to do that to step forward." For those who were not yet willing, she suggested that maybe they could be motivated to do so by seeing their friends start the trend.
After the event, as Dana and Roza stopped for a quick bite to eat, they were approached by a member of what Roza referred to in her talk as the "silent majority".
Soraya Abdel-Hamid, a sophomore of Palestinian descent, thanked the youth leaders for what she had felt was a wonderful talk at one of the small classroom events, but conceded that she had been hesitant to say anything at the time because of how the more extreme voices on campus dominate the conversation.
Contemplating the day's events on the hour-long train journey back to New York, Dana and Roza both agreed that Soraya had been a ray of light on a sadly dark campus.