Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, May 20, 2024
Science Hall

John Benson/Flickr

Palestinian author Yahya Ashour recites poems at SJP event

Gazan writer Yahya Ashour held a poetry reading and Q&A Thursday with the UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). 

Ashour recited poems in both his native Arabic and English, enrapturing the audience in his verse about the grief of living in Gaza. Many of the attendees, including Ashour, wore kuffiya-patterned clothing from popular Palestinian brand PaliRoots as a showcase of solidarity with Palestinian nationalism.

When asked about life in Gaza, Ashour praised its traditions and physical beauty, including his love for the Mediterranean sea, accessible public transportation in Gaza City and Palestinian cuisine. 

Ashour also said it was impossible to imagine a peaceful existence for his home, even prior to Israel’s attacks in the Gaza Strip after the Oct. 7 Hamas military offensive.

“Before the war, I spoke about Gaza like it was a bad place to live and have a future, but now it is way, way worse,” Ashour said. “Everything connects to Israeli colonialism and zionists, who are using our land, drinking our water, stealing our food and having our dreams and our existences. You can never make peace with that. You should always have justice before peace.”

Ashour told The Daily Cardinal he encourages students to demand the University of Wisconsin System divest its upwards of $500 million held in Blackrock, an asset management company with ties to weapons manufacturing. Additionally, Ashour advocated for the Palestinian protest movement “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” (BDS) and compared it to the South African anti-apartheid movement.

Ashour plans to do more readings in cities such as Boston, Dearborn and Chicago. Although he said he is unexcited about the readings, he continues in hopes of reminding Americans about the importance of paying attention.

“I think of a future without Gaza, a future where this can still be going on and we carry on just having life and doing normal things. This doesn’t make sense to me. And I hope it doesn’t make sense to you too,” Ashour said. “You all owe the people of Gaza your anger and your energy and resilience.”

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal