My name is Hamzeh Daoud. I am a third-generation Palestinian refugee; my grandparents took refuge in Jordan following the Arab-Israeli war. I bear with me trans-generational trauma that is beyond the confines of this statement.
On July 19, 2018, the Israeli legislature passed a new law that adversely affects Palestinians. Regrettably, in an emotion filled moment thinking about how extended members of my family would be directly impacted by the legislation, I shared an article about it on Facebook along with the comment saying that I would “physically fight Zionists on campus next year.”
After spending a few hours away from Facebook, I read over my post again and realized how infused it was with the same hatred that has caused my own family so much suffering. It was the antithesis of why I chose this path in life. A sloppy comment made during an emotion-filled reaction to yet another layer of trauma, the comment did not convey my values, who I am currently, or who I hope to become.
I couldn’t erase the fact that I had posted it in the first place so instead I edited it to read that I would “intellectually fight Zionists on campus.” For the sake of transparency, I also addressed the fact that I edited the post in the hope people would understand there was never an intent of physical harm in the first place. The decision to change the post came out of my own free will and out of an understanding of what could possibly be misrepresented and misunderstood.
A day later, the original post was circulated. And although I was accused of horrible things and began to receive graphic death threats and messages filled with Islamophobia and xenophobia, I acknowledge the language in my first post had a strong negative effect on many in our Stanford community. I apologize from the bottom of my heart to everyone who was triggered by it. I recognize that I was projecting my own trauma onto others in a way that is never acceptable.
Since then, I have begun to work with Stanford University and various members of the Stanford community to take accountability and rebuild trust through education and dialogue. I am also entering trauma-based therapy with the Counseling and Psychological Services Center at Stanford to help me learn how to regulate my emotions when triggered, and how to use my pain to build a new future, not just perpetuate old trauma.
I am hopeful that I can continue to grow and become a person I can be proud of; someone whose actions aligns with their values. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped me through this, including the Stanford administration.
I will be stepping down from my job as Resident Assistant at Stanford University to focus my attentions on my studies and on processing the repercussions of my post.
From a Muslim, Third-Generation Palestinian Refugee,
May Peace Be Upon You,
— Hamzeh Daoud ’20