By Cecilia Markley
Foreign policy is front of mind these days for Moe Elsherbiny, president of American University Students for Justice in Palestine, the AU division of the pro-Palestinian student activism organization. He expressed his view that the United States should not be involved in the affairs of any foreign nations.
“All the military bases that it has in different third world countries are posts of imperialism that they use as an influence on these countries to force them into bad situations,” Elsherbiny said.
Elsherbiny is an American University student majoring in Arab World Studies and International Studies and is maintaining his role as president while taking a leave of absence this semester.
He said that another issue on his mind, particularly during the run-up to the upcoming election, is civil rights.
“With the absolute uproar after George Floyd’s death, and now Jacob Blake’s, we definitely need… more reforms surrounding race in the country and the jail system,” Elsherbiny said.
Elsherbiny said that foreign policy and civil rights are not only important issues to the nation, but they are important to him on a personal level.
“I’ve been arrested twice recently in protests, and I know how brutal police can be,” Elsherbiny said. “I think, for me in the right now, I need abolition of police ASAP… I have family abroad, and they’re affected every single day in ways I can’t imagine by American imperialism. So, again, both those issues are just really, really important to me.”
While Elsherbiny said he has strong feelings about politics, he doesn’t feel that he can vote for either major party candidate in this presidential election. He cited Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President in the Obama administration, citing the administration’s record on drone strikes and deportations, as well as Biden’s history on crime as reasons he can’t support him.
“In 1994, the [crime bill] is the exact thing that we’re protesting over today, that we’re talking about when it comes to why the jail system is so bad for Brown and Black people,” Elsherbiny said.
Elsherbiny added that he doesn’t feel hopeful about either candidate’s stance on Palestine, either.
“Annexation is already happening,” Elsherbiny said. “It’s been happening for the past 70 years, and no one in the 2020 American election is far enough for me on the issue of Palestine.”
While Elsherbiny said he does not have much faith in politicians, he believes that change can come from communities.
“This system, it oppresses us, so we need to stop going to it for answers, and we need to begin looking within ourselves and within our communities for answers to issues that are plaguing us,” Elsherbiny said. “We only have each other, and we are the only people who are going to keep each other safe.”