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  • Writer's pictureHumans of International Studies

EVALIEN (3rd year)

“I think I turned into Geert Wilders’ worst nightmare. Not only did I convert to Islam while being raised in Friesland. But I also joined BIJ1 and became very active in working for the Palestinian cause. Although it takes a bit of explanation to people that the decisions were made separately - yet a true nightmare for Wilders. So, a lot has changed for me since I was interviewed by Humans of IS a bit more than a year ago. My interests shifted a lot, which is mainly due to my specialisation in the Middle East. I went into university wanting to get into diplomacy but ended up in the place I am at right now – which is being an activist and organiser for the Free Palestine Movement. This came into being because a few of my fellow students and I felt discouraged by only signing one petition after the other, without seeing any tangible outcome. And it kind of snowballed from there. The work as an activist is quite draining because of the public lash back you receive, which can end up making you almost paranoid at times. What I want to say is, that it can become quite taxing and draining but being in a like-minded group makes all the difference. Especially, the tight bonds you create with your peers, as you must trust one another a lot for certain events and projects. Another reason why I continue to be an activist is once you get into the issue, you recognise so many inequalities and unjust circumstances, which are so often easily ignored by the larger public. So, the rallies and public disruption other activists and I cause are aimed at creating awareness and ultimately creating a space in which those realities can be made apparent. I often get the question: Why Palestine? There is so much wrong in this world – so why this specific political struggle? To that, I must respond that I’ve always been politically active, and I’ve always cared, and due to me specialising in the Middle East, I feel like this is a struggle I understand and can have a succinct opinion about. So, the hope is that I actually get to change something, even if it's super small – but that in the end, I end up creating a more just future.” (Evalien, 3rd year, the Netherlands)

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