Dear all ISM activists,
At the beginning, I’m awfully sorry for this belated letter; please forgive me. For days, I wasn’t able to write anything. Every time I wanted to write, I felt like there were no words to exactly describe how I felt upon knowing Vik was killed; I couldn’t find words to express my condolences to you. At that moment, “I’m sorry for your loss” seemed unworthy. And as I’m writing to you right now, I don’t know if my words will be of any comfort to you. Probably not, for Vik now is gone.
We are sorry we couldn’t protect your friend and save his life; we couldn’t cut off the dirty hands before they touched him. However, on behalf of every Palestinian, I would like to offer you my deepest condolences for having lost your comrade Vittorio Arrigoni. I know what Vik meant to you. Not only was he your colleague, but also he was a brother, a friend and a compassionate humanist. Vik was one of the oldest ISM members; he came to Gaza on the first Free Gaza boat in 2008 and stayed until he took his last breath. He was the finest paradigm of how we can be truly human.
Dear friends, I know you are still heartbroken, and some of you even still refuse to believe Vik was murdered. I know it’s difficult for all of you to succumb to the fact that Viktor is no longer around. All of you knew Vik when you came to Gaza and joint the ISM, and soon you became one family because of the vibrant big hearts and boundless humanity you all had. Yes we as Palestinians are sad because we lost a great custodian and defender of the Palestinian cause, but I’m sure the shock was even harder for you. You were all more than one family: you were brothers and sisters, you lived together, you protested together, you always did your utmost to serve whoever needed help in Gaza, and you always were at the forefront together along with farmers and fishermen defying Israeli bullets and inhumane blockade. You so passionately embraced us and our cause with open arms; you lived among us, where you endured the same hardships and suffering. You all are undisputedly Palestinians, of whom we are most proud.
It might be inappropriate of me to explain to you how the people of Gaza felt when they heard that it was some Palestinians who committed this crime, because you know better; you know that those bunch of criminals don’t represent the Palestinians at all. I, however, am sorry for them because they killed someone whom they knew very well was for them; they betrayed a person whose heart overwhelmed Gaza with love and warmth. I also feel sorry for them because of the tragic end they deserved. Did they not think about it? Didn’t they know that this was what Zionists wanted, and that they were doing them an invaluable favor? Stupid!
Dear friends, for Vik is gone now, let’s not make the Israelis happy. Let’s show them who we are and what we can do. Let’s show them the undying spirit of Vik living in all of us. Let’s just follow in his steps and continue the noble work he began. Vik did an unparalleled job, and it’s time for him to take rest; I’m sure he is very happy now seeing how much we love and honor him, how we are becoming more and more determined to go on in our struggle for freedom and justice and how his death has further inspired us, and awakened humanity in millions of people as well.
Dear friends, I assure you that your endurance, perseverance and dignity in the face of the unjust and cruel Israeli occupation has added so very much to the Palestinian cause; without your tireless efforts, we would be lost and forgotten. You have proved unbreakable determination against injustice and atrocity. Vik and you have taught us how to “Stay Human”, and we will definitely continue on this route together.
Dear friends, thank you all from the bottom of my heart and much love and reverence for you all…
A big hug