Vittorio Arrigoni: a life given to Humanity

Sunday 17 April 2011

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“We won’t leave, because we believe that our presence as eye witnesses of the ongoing crimes against the helpless population, is fundamental”.

This is what Vittorio Arrigoni wrote during the most atrocious days of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when there were uncountable deaths and everyone was running away from that strip of land, because this was his life: to stay close to the most vulnerable people, always.

And now that an unreasonable gesture, of unjustified violence has killed him, his words and his non violent fight in Gaza, echoes like thunder.

The Palestinians are the first victims as well as the astonished spectators of what happened, yet they are also Vittorio’s first orphans, since he has been their voice thanks to his firsthand efforts during the last few years.

He arrived in Gaza as an ONG aid-worker and later became a collaborator of the Il Manisfesto newspaper, where he told directly the sad human stories within these tortured territories.

In these years Vittorio Arrigoni also helped fishermen and peasants to learn how to plant and to harvest also where there are guns and fires and where it isn’t recommended to go to, near defenseless people the world has forgotten.

It is like he always wanted to go to humanity’s most tormented places. To tell, and especially to stay near, to concretely live solidarity and the commitment to change. He always was willing to give up his own life to defend human rights.

In front of injustice and war surrounding the human tragedy of these men, women and children, Vittorio risked his own life as a dreamer, as a non-violent activist.

Vittorio contrasted indifference and denial with his daily struggle as a journalist, breaking the silence and drowsiness of social conscience.

His peaceful fight for freedom, justice, human rights and democracy will always be inside the hearts of many Palestinians to whom he stood alongside.

“Stay Human” is the phrase he used to write in the end of each article and reportages, as a warning and a recommendation for all of us and now it has become stronger and more effective, since the presence of aid-workers around the world must be considered as an important value in order to change territories that often have been abandoned and forgotten.

 

CESIE ETS