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Standing for human rights

humanrightsBy Wendi Wheeler ’06

People passing through the Augsburg Quad today may see a group of students holding glittery peace signs with the message “Auggies Care: No More War.” These Auggies are with Ibrahim Al-Hajiby, a first-year student who is literally taking a stand for human rights.

Al-Hajiby came to Augsburg last spring to study international relations, but his thoughts are often with friends and family in Yemen. “In my country, all over the world, and even on Wall Street, young people are being arrested, humiliated, and sometimes killed for protesting for their rights,” he said. He organized this 24-hour peaceful protest as a way to show solidarity with youth around the world, especially his friends who have been killed or injured while protesting.

In Yemen, Al-Hajiby was afraid to protest not for his own safety but for that of his family. “But now that people are supporting the protesting in Yemen, I feel I need to do something.”

From 10 a.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday, Al-Hajiby is asking passers-by to stand with the group in the Quad and hold a sign—for five minutes or as long as they wish. This evening, the group will light candles, sing, and listen to bag pipers.

“Here we talk about human rights, we read about it, we see videos about it in class,” Al-Hajiby said. “This is a time for us to act and show our support.” His wish is that young people will be inspired to overlook their differences to support each other as members of the human race.

Al-Hajiby said he plans to send pictures and videos to his friends in Yemen to show them that Augsburg students care about their fight. “This is not about me,” he said. “It’s about the new generation that is going to make the world a better place. The first step in fighting terrorism is to fight for human rights, and that is what we are doing.”

See photos on Augsburg’s flickr stream.

Read the KARE11 coverage.

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