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'STAY HUMAN' written by Vittorio Arrigoni THE READING MOVIETim King Salem-News.com
- Chapter VIII - read by Huwaida Arraf...
(SALEM) - Every movement that seeks to achieve what is seemingly impossible, requires heroes. The deadly and bloody effort in Palestine to both liberate the trapped people of Gaza, and bring their stories to the world, has fallen on the backs of a select few. Two people whose tireless efforts have been paramount in this regard, are Vittorio Arrigoni and Huwaida Arraf.
Vittorio or 'Vik' as he was known to friends, was murdered last year in Gaza, tragically, and the wounds from that loss have not healed, nor has the anger or disgust at those who claimed his precious life.
Huwaida, who along with Adam Shapiro, organized the first freedom flotilla to reach Gaza, is an extraordinary activist and while her political gains place her high on the enemy lists of those who oppose her, Huwaida is an extraordinary woman who has used her body to deflect Israel's guns.
With his beaming smile and bright personality, Vittorio will always be associated with the saying, 'Restiano Umani' which means 'Stay Human'- and this has indeed increasingly become a central theme of this movement against Israeli apartheid, it always was of course, but Vik defined it. (restiamoumani.com)
Restiano Umani is the title of Vik's book which is life-changing for those who do not understand the true dilemma of the Middle east conflict, even more importantly it is crucial reading for those who doubt the illegal cruelty of Israel which keeps the region paralyzed with fear, and the western and Israeli public baffled with misinformation.
I'll never forget hearing the news that Vik had been kidnapped in Gaza, and the tense hours, waiting for some word and praying it would be a good one, which it was not.
Our dear friend and fellow writer Ken O'Keefe, had to identify Vik's body in the Gaza morgue and I will never forget his immense rage, which we all shared but did not feel so personally. I'm glad Ken was there to work with the broken hearted people who knew they had just experienced a terrible loss.
Thanks to Vik Arrigoni's wonderful friends; legions of peace activists exist who are determined and also ready to give their lives if necessary, for the cause of freeing Palestine from the death grip of Israeli control, occupation and oppression. Because people like Vik and Huwaida and Ken and others pushed hard and then pushed back harder again, they gained much ground and because of their numerous sacrifices, there is much hope.
Vik's stories ripped at my heart personally when he was alive and they continue to today. Few people are as impressive and innovative and he was a fantastic writer and film producer.
Vik was the resilient grandson of Italian resistance fighters in World War Two who defeated the Fascist and Nazi plague of Europe, it is no wonder Vik never stopped making strong moves to publicly expose the incredible hazards faced by Gaza's fishermen and everyone else in this walled enclave that is designed by Israel expressly for the purpose of subjugating humanity, where an endless list of violations under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights continue unabated, except for the acts of resistance from an important few.
The abuse from Israel in Gaza is rampant, random and widespread, but what seemed to bother Vik the most, were the problems faced by Gaza's fishermen from Israel's naval blockade of this coastline, and the fact that those brave few who attempt to fish within their internationally-agreed 20-mile limit from the coast, are routinely attacked if they venture more than three miles from the shoreline.
It is a classic example of how Israel denies Palestinians even their most basic rights, there is nowhere for the fishermen to turn, except for people like Vik, and important groups like CPS (Civil Peace Service Gaza) and Christian Peacemaker Teams. Even then, very few U.S. news agencies bother carrying the information.
Vik was also in Gaza during Israel's deadly attack obnoxiously called "Cast Lead" that left more than 1400 people dead and suffering from injuries that doctors could scarcely describe.
Israel employed weapons in this attack during the winter of 2008/2009 that are illegal under the International Weapons Convention. White phosphorus and Depleted Uranium were both used, hundreds of schools were targeted and so were more than 50 of Gaza's hospitals and medical facilities.
Vik documented these atrocities committed by Israel against poverty-stricken civilians at length and every word he wrote about it placed your heart in your throat as he communicated the fear and brazen tactics of Israel's armed forces who are cultured to abuse Palestinians, regarding them often as little more than animals.
This is the side of Israel that Americans in particular, are denied by media, and egregiously misled over by U.S. politicians who side with Israel's death and destruction on almost every count, thank God for people like Vik and Huwaida.
Special thanks to Dani in Rome!
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