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The Only Democracy? » On The Ground Reports » RIP Vittorio, z”l

RIP Vittorio, z”l

I was scheduled to be interviewed by Ashley Bates, whose work we have reposted here. Instead she got word of the death of her friend, Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni at the ends of self-proclaimed “Salafists,” an Islamist faction and rival to Hamas. While of course internationals’ deaths are not more important than anyone else’s, this one also seems to have touched a nerve with many who struggle to tell the truth about what goes on in Israel/Palestine. Ashley’s rememberances and questioning why Vittorio was killed can be read here at Mother Jones.

In the winter, spring, and summer of 2010, I observed Vik as he participated in weekly non-violent demonstrations against the no-go zone. The unarmed protesters would march into the zone, plant Palestinian flags, and then retreat—all the while getting shot at by Israeli snipers who typically aimed for the ground, or the protesters’ legs. A Maltan activist, 28-year-old Bianca Zimmit, was shot in the leg during one of the demonstrations; a Palestinian protester, 19-year-old Ahmed Deeb, was shot in the femoral artery and died of blood loss. Palestinian leaders called off the protests last fall.

Another source for this blog sent along this video, which chillinginly and movingly features Vittorio speaking about how he would like to be remembered in one of Gaza’s few green spaces, a cemetery. He places a wraith on a Jewish World War I soldier’s grave.

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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