Letters to the editor

Murad Assaad

Dear Editor:

I recently read an article in the Stater in defense of the Starbucks Corp. because of their strides in helping domestic partnerships. While this is nice, I would like to explain why I choose not to purchase anything from them.

I have to believe that as we grow older we learn to care for someone other than ourselves. A husband learns to care for his wife. A parent learns to care for their child. An adult learns to care for something bigger than themselves. I do not deny the importance of caring for one’s self, but it is once this is achieved that one has the ability to do more. I am very fortunate to have a good life where my biggest problems and concerns are grades. Others in the United States and abroad are not as fortunate.

However, today I mainly speak of the people of Palestine. They are currently the most oppressed and terrorized people on earth. Imagine a life where you are limited in every aspect. Your basic necessities and resources are out of your control. Imagine a life where food and clean water are not guaranteed. Imagine a life of traveling outside to find food or go to work while surrounded by a foreign military. Imagine the type of curfew that is enforced with prison or death. Imagine watching your house bulldozed before your eyes. To survive every day takes a strength I cannot possibly conceive. I cannot even fathom a life in those conditions, yet this is the daily life of a Palestinian. Many would ask: “How can I stop something out of my control?” “How can I care about something that does not affect me?” “There is nothing I can do.” I myself had thoughts such as these. It brought me to the quote of Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” To do something, no matter how small, is infinitely better than to do nothing.

This brings me to my reason for refusing to purchase from Starbucks. The owner, Howard Shultz, is a self-proclaimed Zionist who cares deeply for Israel – so much that he invests some of his company’s time and money to aid Israel. As if they did not receive enough aid from the United States: a minimum of $3 billion per year. This money is used in turn for military and “defense.” I refuse to contribute to the very people who devastate and oppress those I care about. I write in the hopes that even a few would recognize the importance of the situation I tried to explain. That some may recognize the consequences of even a $1.65 cup of coffee. That some may begin to care about something bigger than themselves. I guess we’ll just enjoy the free refills until then.

Murad Assaad

Integrated Life Sciences major