A mournful morning

 15th April, 2011

Just another mournful Friday. All of us were agonized by the news of the abduction of the Italian activist “Vittorio”, spending the whole night anticipating and hoping that morning would bring us the news of his release, confirmed by good friends that there were good signs indicating that he would be freed in the morning. Morning brought us mourning. The first unconfirmed news of his death came at2 a.m. to leave us all speechless, confused, hopeful that it was all a false alarm or that any media source would declare that he was still alive. 2 hours later, it was all confirmed. Vittorio was dead.

“Have you known him personally?” Many have asked me today in the funeral that was held by Gazans in honour of Veteran Vittorio. In fact, I did not meet him in person, the case of so many Palestinians who were there for his funeral today. The first time I saw Vittorio was in the documentary called “To Shoot an Elepahnt” I watched in the first anniversary of the Nakba after which I felt humbled by the role that the International Solidarity movement was playing at that war. Vittorio was amongst the few internationals who refused to leave the Gaza Strip during the Israeli offensive in 2008-2009 and chose to stay under the constant bombing to help injured Palestinians and to spread the truth of what was happening.

And today, while walking among the sad faces welled with tears that gathered to mourn the loss of a brother, of a Palestinian brother, I heard so many more stories of how courageous the man has been. Stories including farmers, fishermen, borders, Israeli soldiers. To know how brave Vittorio was, I only had to look around, and see the agony and anger in the faces of hundreds of People whose voices at its highest pitch was calling for the justice to be served against those brutal criminals. No matter who was behind this vicious crime against humanity, he is not the least Palestinian. I was more than glad to know that other internationals felt the same way, too. Those whom I was fortunate to talk to not only said they were more committed to the cause but also vowed to never give up on Palestine.

For me, Vittorio is every international I met and felt inspired by. He’s the voice of solidarity that shall not fade as long as there is a  just cause called Palestine. He is the voice of humanity that should stay alive all of us.  He is the voice of freedom that shall not be silenced.

Rest in Peace, comrade.