Monday, 18 April 2011




Hamas police officers found the body of Italian Vittorio ("Victor") Arrigoni on Friday in the Gaza Strip, only hours after an al Qaeda-allied group opposed to Hamas announced that they'd kidnapped the 36-year-old pro-Palestinian activist and journalist. The group, Tawhid and Jihad, released a YouTube video on Thursday showing a bound and blindfolded man identified as Arrigoni and threatening to kill Arrigoni by Friday at 5 pm if Hamas didn't release the group's leader, Hesham al-Saeedni, according to CNN. The video also called Italy an "infidel nation whose armies are still present in Muslim lands."

In a statement, the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement said Arrigoni (pictured above in Gaza in 2008) had worked with the organization on "monitoring human rights violations by Israel" and "supporting the Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation" adding that he'd been granted honorary citizenship for his efforts on behalf of the Palestinian people. Arrigoni came to Gaza on a boat with other activists to protest a blockade imposed by Israel on the territory.

The New York Times notes that the incident marks the first kidnapping of a foreigner in Gaza since Hamas took control of the Palestinian territory in 2007, and will likely embarrass the militant Islamist group, which "has prided itself on restoring security and ending years of armed chaos in Gaza." Hamas, which Israel, the U.S., and the E.U. consider a terrorist organization, has tried to suppress smaller, more radical Islamic groups in Gaza since coming to power, according to the Times.

Over on Twitter, NPR's Andy Carvin has been capturing reaction to Arrigoni's death. The International Solidarity Movement has also posted a video in which Arrigoni explains why he came to Gaza:

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Posted: April 18, 2011 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized

4 Votes
Arrigoni documented Israeli attacks on Palestinian ambulance workers, ‘the most heroic people I ever met’
by Philip Weiss
An amazing video of the late Vik Vittorio Arrigoni from May 2009. At minute 6 he documents the attacks on Palestinian ambulance drivers during Cast Lead; you see two stretcher-bearers being shot at in Gaza City. Remember, this is an essential point of the now-disputed al-Samouni case, in which ambulances were prevented from approaching the bombed family, and at least one person died who surely might have survived their injuries. Doesn’t that constitute a deliberate attack on civilians?
This is from the Goldstone Report on the al-Samouni family:
[A]t around 4 p.m. [January 4, 2009], PRCS ambulance managed to come in the vicinity of the house where Ahmad was lying wounded, but was prevented by the Israeli armed forces from rescuing him. Ahmad died at around 2 a.m. during the night… The ambulance had turned west off Salah ad-Din Street when, at one of the first houses in the area, Israeli soldiers on the ground and on the roof of one of the houses directed their guns at it and ordered it to stop. The driver and the nurse were ordered to get out of the vehicle, raise their hands, take off their clothes and lie on the ground. Israeli soldiers then searched them and the vehicle for 5 to 10 minutes. Having found nothing, the soldiers ordered the ambulance team to return to Gaza City, in spite of their pleas to be allowed to pick up some wounded. In his statement to the Mission, the ambulance driver recalled seeing women and children huddling under the staircase in a house, but not being allowed to take them with him.
Arrigoni speaks of 13 Palestinian paramedics who died. “I will remember those martyrs as the most heroic people I ever met.”
At the end of the video Arrigoni quotes the Italian poet Enzo Biagi. “Enzo Biagi said ‘Truth is like poetry, it doesn’t need any adjectives, it is freedom.’ We will keep making poetry of our lives until freedom will be declared over the broken chains of all oppressed peoples.”
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1 comment:

  1. Ken O'Keefe
    The weblog of Ken O'Keefe
    Tribute to my brother Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni – by Ken O’Keefe

    There simply cannot be enough praise for brother Vik, he was a man who exemplified what it is to be human, to be a loving, courageous, full fledged human being. I am blessed till the end of time for knowing him; I will love him to the day I die. And the greatest way to honour Vik is to never give up, to never abandon Palestine, to seek truth and justice at every turn, to shed the fear and never accept the unacceptable.

    On this one-year anniversary of his murder I say to his family, thank you so much for producing this warrior for justice, this brother to humanity. He is with us always; he is among the greatest Palestinians who have ever lived. TJP – Stay Human
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    One Response to “Tribute to my brother Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni – by Ken O’Keefe”

    Like elephants, some of us NEVER forget the GOOD and the BAD! I have no words to say how I feel about the loss of such a GREAT HUMAN BEING!

    Yesterday, I had to confront a young woman in Walthamstow campaigning for the “Palestinian Liberation Campaign” who claimed she was “to be on the Mavi Marmara”! She was bad mouthing our Brother Kenneth O’Keefe and got all excited when I took his defence. Vexed, she said to my friend Barry Lyndon:

    TAKE HIM AWAY as if I was a sack of rubbish!

    Well, good luck to you, Ken, and to all your loved ones!


    B.A.Frémaux-Soormally - April 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm