Picket Chief Editor and MSA co-founder Khalid Alsadek presents the ceasefire resolution to the Shepherd SGA on March 26. Photo by Cristian Lopez.

Alsadek reflects on SGA ceasefire resolution, personal connection to Palestinians

Last Tuesday, the Student Government Association at Shepherd University voted 30-0 (10 abstain, 10 absent) on a ceasefire resolution drafted by Managing/Editor-In-Chief of The Picket and co-founder of the new Muslim Students Association Khalid Alsadek.  

With the vote being placed, Shepherd University becomes the first university in West Virginia whose SGA has shown support for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas War which has taken the lives of roughly 1,200 Israelis and over 33,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7. 

The meeting took place at 5:00 p.m. in the Storer Ballroom inside Shepherd’s Student Center.  

The resolution made by Alsadek calls for the “Shepherd University Student Government Association to call upon the Shepherd University administration to publish a statement condemning all violence, hate speech, Islamophobia, and Anti-Semitism in universities and colleges across the United States which has stemmed from the ongoing Hamas-Israeli War.”  

The resolution also stated how Shepherd should call upon the town council and “other higher education institutions across the State of West Virginia to condemn all acts of hatred and violence stemming from the ongoing Hamas-Israeli War, and to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.” 

 Once presented, some students had questions for Alsadek regarding why Shepherd should put out any statement to call for a ceasefire since Shepherd is such a “small school” and “we wouldn’t have that much media coverage.”  

Alsadek responded by stating how people don’t know something can cause a huge change unless you try it and with Shepherd’s SGA voting to pass the resolution could spread to other schools not just in West Virginia but across the country. 

Dozens of universities’ SGA’s have passed either ceasefire or divestment resolutions since Oct. 7, both large and small universities alike. 

Moreover, over 70 cities across the country have voted to pass some sort of ceasefire in Gaza resolution, notably Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. 

After the SGA meeting, Alsadek reflected on his victory. The entire script of the interview is below. 

Christian Lopez: “With the student government voting in favor of a ceasefire, what do you hope it will provide for Muslim students here at Shepherd?” 

Alsadek: “Well, first thing is that I hope it shows that not only Muslim students are affected because there’s a significant Christian minority of Palestinians in the world but, Muslim students (across the United States) are usually the students that really push for something to be done about Palestine.  

So to answer your question, I would say that the first thing that comes to my mind is that I want Muslims on campus to know that no matter which state they decide to go to school, such as West Virginia, that the University will take care of them and that the University will hear their comments and concerns. Not treat itself as a vacuum, unaware of things that are happening in the world around them, and things that could affect their Muslim population on campus, directly or indirectly.” 

Lopez: “As the SGA Senator for the Picket, what do you hope to get out of this (for the newspaper)?” 

Alsadek: “Well, so far Yik Yak has been helping us out the past few days. I think the resolution sparked controversy, and lots of people gave me backlash and hate on Yik Yak, but I didn’t care about it. More people are going to know about the newspaper and that we exist… We are going to get a larger following. But I believe this will help us get more attention as a newspaper.  

We just got to keep doing what we do best, which is to produce news and send news out to people. Especially news about Shepherd University and Shepherdstown’s community values. Especially sports. We have been doing very well in the sports avenue this semester…” 

Lopez: “If you do not mind, personally, how would you describe the effects of the war that has been present within your life?” 

Alsadek: “Every day, since I can remember, my parents, my grandparents, relatives would always showed me, and I remember this since I was very little, pictures and videos of a Palestinian woman wailing over her child that is torn into different pieces, or a Palestinian crying outside of their home that has now been confiscated by an Israeli settler.  

To me and to many other Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims, when we see someone who looks like us, who has the same belief as us, who has our same blood in a way, and the same ethnicity, we do not look at them as someone different; we look at them as being us. And it is not just for Arabs or Palestinians, this is a universal Muslim phenomena.  

Of course, there are many Christian Palestinians and so many of the oldest churches in the world are in Gaza, and they have all been destroyed by Israel. It does not go to say that I’m not thinking of Palestinian Christians. But, you know, I am Muslim, and most Palestinians are Muslim.  

My grandmother is Palestinian, and my great grandparents are as well. Speaking of my great grandparents, they woke up suddenly in 1948, to the Zionist Israeli militia massacring their neighbors. They woke up by hearing the cries of their neighbors that they used to spend time with every weekend, every day. They see them tending to their gardens or fields. And luckily, my grandparents woke up and got my grandma’s siblings (my grandma was not born at the time) and said, ‘Hey, they’re killing our neighbors. We need to run and leave,’ And so luckily, my family left.  

And luckily, I am here because of the decision that my great grandparents made. If they decided not to leave, who knows? Maybe my grandma wouldn’t (have) lived, maybe some of the other relatives wouldn’t (have) lived, maybe my great grandparents would later die and Israel would treat us as refugees and then maybe we would’ve ended up in Gaza.  

You need to understand that most people who live in Gaza are not from Gaza. They are Palestinians that have been subjected to a program of ethnic cleansing, sponsored by the Israeli government, pushing Palestinians into Gaza, into the small enclave where most of the population is now displaced.  

So, from that perspective, I think about these Palestinians as my family. When I see a brother wailing and screaming over his older brother, I think of my little brother imagining if he saw me in that state. He (would have) seen my arm 50 feet away, my head 10 feet away from him. He (would have) seen my torso three feet away, blown to bits.  

It sounds like I’m talking about something that’s straight out of Call of Duty, but this is something that is going on right now and Americans don’t understand that.  

So, when I see something like that, I just think of my brother having to deal with something like that.

Imagine my mom having to see her brothers, relatives, or my dad, his family members, and friends dying. Palestinians, Muslims, and Arab, we all see each other as one family. But, from that perspective, that’s the first way it affects me.  

The second thing is that all the videos that are being circulated on social media, that your average American is seeing, these horrific videos. You have to understand that as a Muslim, Arab or Palestinian, I have been seeing these things and hearing these stories from my relatives, from my grandparents, from my parents, since I was little.  

In my perspective, it’s taken almost 18 or 15 years for your average American to see the stuff that has been going on that I knew about since I was little. I’m not diminishing the positivity that’s coming from them (the videos) because now we’re (Arab and Muslim Americans) finally saying ‘Yes, the world is hearing us. The world isn’t ignoring our pleas about what’s happening to us,’ and I’d say with one final thought on this question is that I have a good family friend who isn’t even in Gaza, he’s in the West Bank.  

Hamas as an entity, as a government does not operate in the West Bank, they only operate in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, you have the Palestinian Authority, which wants to establish peace with Israel and has established peace with Israel. They recognize Israel as a country. But I have a family friend in the West Bank. We haven’t been able to reach him. Palestinians in the West Bank are not able to move as freely as they used to prior to October 7. At this point, I just hope he’s alive. I saw him a couple of days before October 7, laughing and spending time with him. He’s a great friend of my grandpa and he’s also an American citizen. He’s a Palestinian-American. But he’s an American citizen as well. So, is Israel going to see an American Citizen of Palestinian descent as a white American, worthy of being saved? I don’t think so. But only time will tell, and I hope he comes out alive.  

I have lots of friends that have lost dozens of relatives in Gaza. My one friend has been telling me whenever anything happens to his cousins or his relatives in Gaza. He says, ‘three of my cousins died today, three of my aunts died today, the entire one side of my family died today because they were all together in one building when Israel decided to bombard it,’ Not one member of my friend’s family is from Hamas.  

Sorry to make it depressing, but that’s the reality and how I see it. We’re seeing an ethnic cleansing in front of our eyes. It’s almost been six months and I don’t know if we’re going to see an end to this.” 

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