Global Issues scavenger hunt simulates Gaza experience

Emily Wright

Senior Bill Milanick felt powerful as he strolled the empty hallways of RBHS last night. Armed with a nerf gun, he listened carefully for footsteps in order to hunt down a victim. Then, he attacked. Sprinting around squeaky corners, he shot his prey with a foam pellet and then watched, satisfied, as they stood immobile for an entire minute.
This simulation was part of a scavenger hunt organized by Global Issues Club to promote awareness of the Israeli blockade of Palestine. During the scavenger hunt, participants were sent in groups of three to locations in the school which held trivia questions. The teams aimed to answer the most questions correctly in order to win iTunes gift cards. However, there was one catch. Milanick and other club members were designated “police-officers” ­– allowed to shoot at any participant for any reason.
“We were trying to simulate the Israeli police and everyone else was a Palestinian,” Milanick said. “The Palestinians had to go around and try not to get caught by us during their scavenger hunt.”
Senior Emily Smith, Global Issues co-president, said this policing with nerf guns was aimed at causing distress similar to that which citizens of Gaza face as they are controlled by Israeli police. Smith said it is important for students to realize the adverse effects of this crisis.
“We were trying to convey the inequality and the treatment that is going on in Gaza as each police officer got to decide who got shot and who didn’t,” Smith said. “We wanted to shed light on the situation in Gaza.”
However, Global Issues did not just create a war-zone of RBHS hallways last night. They also raised money for American Near East Refugee Aid, an organization that brings essential supplies through the blockade.
“Right now, Israel is forcing a blockade upon Palestine because they don’t want weapons to get through,” Smith said. “But they’re also not letting things through to Palestine like baby food because they don’t want to be seen as aiding them. So we are donating to an agency that is in Palestine and has preschools there.”
But to sophomore Subah Mohua, the evening was most memorable because of the simulation. Although she enjoyed the adrenaline rush of racing to find answers to scavenger hunt clues, she was taken aback by the aggression of the simulation, putting herself in the shoes of those in Gaza.
“It was very hectic,” Mohua said. “There was a lot of screaming because there were cops everywhere. People were running everywhere since it was a race. But then the cops would catch us. We got those periodic reminders of why we were doing this. This was what it is actually like for the people in Gaza.”
Despite the serious topic at hand, Milanick said he enjoyed the evening, seeking out participants and shooting them with his prized weapon.
“I ran down. and I sat next to the tunnel downstairs, just waiting for [the scavenger hunt participants] to come out,” Milanick said. “And right as they came out, I just popped out and shot them right in the chest. It was awesome. I felt fulfilled.”
By Emily Wright