A project by Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley, Facing Apartheid is part of an effort to educate the campus community on its connection to and responsibility for illegal military occupation and apartheid policies which directly and systematically impede access to higher education for Palestinian students in the West Bank, Gaza and 1948 Palestine.
These quotes and photos were collected from Palestinian students at universities inside the West Bank, Gaza and 1948 Palestine. Each student was asked to address the UC Berkeley campus community directly in speaking about the obstacles they faced in achieving a higher education due to the illegal occupation or apartheid policies of the Israeli state.
The physical wall displaying 18 of the 52 portraits was displayed on campus during Israeli Apartheid Week in the Spring semester of 2010.
Inspiration for the visual design of the wall developed as a response to a marketing campaign launched by the University of California Berkeley administration. In the Fall semester of 2009, the University erected a wall of students faces in front of one of the main University buildings in a central location on campus. Accompanying each face are quotes by the students glorifying the University of California. For example, one of the quotes reads, "Berkeley has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined". The ethnic diversity of the wall is also grossly misrepresentative of the actual diversity of the University.
Students for Justice in Palestine sought to respond to the portrayal of the University of California as a benevolent institution seeking to provide unlimited opportunity to students from all backgrounds. The wall was placed near the original wall erected by the University in order to shed light on the purpose of the University's marketing tactics as well as to point to the inherent contradiction existing because of the university's investment in companies who profit from the illegal occupation as well as apartheid policies in Palestine. While advertising itself as an institution of opportunity, the University participates directly in the violation of educational rights for Palestinian students.
Questions? Send us an email at questions AT facingapartheid DOT org.