Rooted in Palestinian resilience: Eva Sadek’s journey from activism to politics

“I actually feel at home nowhere, so my Palestinian roots are my home.” The 21-year-old Eva Sadek navigates in a world where hashtags often seem to wield more power than policies. Balancing college, activism, and political engagement, Eva embodies the spirit of her generation defined by authenticity and a relentless pursuit of justice.

Critical, loving, and Palestinian. That’s how Eva Sadek describes herself in 3 words. After studying political science, she quickly realized that understanding politics requires more than just textbooks. It demands a deep dive into the lives of everyday people. So, she made the leap to studying social work, seeing it as a gateway to connect with real struggles.

But it was the Palestinian cause that truly started the political journey of Eva. Watching Israel’s invasion of Khan Younis in 2021, she felt a deep sense of solidarity when she stumbled upon PVDA politician Jos D’Haese’s TikTok. Suddenly, the PVDA wasn’t just another political party, it was a megaphone for her voice as a Palestinian in Belgium.

In 1948, Eva Sadek’s Palestinian family fled to Lebanon, where they have retained refugee status for 76 years. “After 76 years, my family still has refugee status there, so we don’t feel Lebanese. We are Palestinians”, she emphasizes. This enduring displacement has led to a complex sense of identity for Eva. “I actually feel at home nowhere, so my Palestinian roots are my home. I’m just Palestinian. I attach a lot of importance to that.” Reflecting on her teenage years, it has been particularly challenging. “I learned about human rights at school, but when I came home I saw my people bleeding to death on TV and not being considered as humans with rights.” The post-WWII promise of “never again” prompts her to question: “Never again for whom? Never again only for Western people, or for everyone in the world?” Eva acknowledges that the generational trauma among Palestinians is a source of both strength and pain. She discusses the paradox of inheriting both strength and pain, stating that without pain, their resilience wouldn’t exist. “We find strength in the smallest things. We keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” she says. “In recent months, we haven’t just been walking towards that light, we’ve been running. I truly believe the strength we have is a gift from God.”

Blurry line

Eva’s commitment to remaining true to herself and her principles is resolute, even in the face of political pressures. “I always said if I step into politics, my activism will not stop,” she says.

Her journey from activism to politics is not just a transition but a continuation of her commitment to the cause of Palestine and her belief in the power of authentic action. Yet, for Eva, the line between activism and politics is blurry. “I just want to be the Eva who listens to people’s needs and takes action,” she asserts.


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Eva says she won’t compromise on her beliefs. “If I stand for something, I’ll fight for it. And I think that’s something typical of our generation.” She observes a lack of this passion in Belgian politics and hopes her generation, as future policymakers, bring that courage.

Still the same Eva

“Before I’m Palestinian, before I’m Eva, I’m a Muslim. My religion makes me who I am and has made me care about all human beings as Islam prescribes. My love for justice comes from my religion. I want peace and tranquility for everyone.”

Many people have prejudices about her since she started wearing her hijab. Eva has heard comments suggesting she’s only on the electoral list because of her hijab, to attract votes. She has only been wearing the hijab for a year and has noticed a big difference in how people perceive her with and without it. Without the hijab, she was taken much more seriously and seen as more Flemish.

Eva finds it strange that in the whole movement of women wearing what they want, that right stops at a headscarf. “When I think about my future in politics and see myself in the Flemish or federal parliament or government, it motivates me to continue. Because imagine how strong and representative it would be to see a hijabi in this position,” she says.

Do what you want to do

The recent wave of worldwide student protests ignites a spark of hope in Eva’s heart. “The student protests for boycotting ties with Israel give me hope for the first time in a long time,” she exclaims. Young activists are leveraging social media platforms to mobilize and demand accountability, reshaping political narratives and challenging traditional power structures.

In the age of social media activism, Eva recognizes the increasing influence of youth voices in shaping political agendas and priorities. “Many young people also wonder what a politician’s or party’s stance on Palestine is,” she observes, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and transparency in political engagement.

As Eva navigates her journey as a politician and activist, her message remains clear: stay true to yourself, stand firm in your beliefs, and never underestimate the power of collective action. In her voice, we hear the echoes of a generation unafraid to challenge the status quo and demand a better future for all.

And her message to young people who also want to enter politics: “Don’t care about what other people say, do what you want to do. Find something you truly love and want to fight for with a lot of love.”

Text: Kaoutar El Afi

Picture: © Eva Sadek