AFSC staff of the Palestine Youth Program in Gaza have sent the following message to express their grief at the abduction and killing in Gaza on 14 April 2011 of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian citizen and member of the International Solidarity Movement.

Vittorio Arrigoni  …  Trees die standing

This is a sad day for Gaza.  Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian journalist and activist is being held up in our hearts.  He came to Gaza with other people to show solidarity with, and express his sympathy for,  the people of Gaza.  He and others like him have given us their hearts.  Their only  message is that the people, the children of Gaza have the right to live.  He came to stop injustice, to break the siege, and to help us realize freedom.  For justice he paid with his life,

The people of Gaza are saddened and shocked by the killing of a man who came from far away, leaving his mother, family  and friends in order to be here and to share everything - love and suffering, songs and laughter – with the people of Gaza.  He didn’t live long enough for us to tell him thank you.  He didn’t live to see his family again.

People in Gaza knew Vittorio very well.  He used to move freely around Gaza.  He lived as a Palestinian. He ate our food, visited our homes, played with our children.  I didn’t meet him, but I have heard his story from people who did.  I see other people that have faces like him [foreigners].  They are here.  They are here to say that we are all human and to share their love with people here.

Vittorio’s mother said that he used to tell her that he would teach people how to “be human”  Those are his words.  Vittorio, we are sorry for you and your  mother and family. We are sorry for ourselves.  This shouldn’t have happened to you.  You and all people who love freedom will always be in our hearts.  We will never stop dreaming of peace and justice.  The power of love will win and we will continue in our own way to plant seeds of love and hope
 
 
From Gaza with love,
 
AFSC staff in Gaza

Amal Sabawi
Program Director
American Friends  Service Committee
Palestine Youth Program - Gaza