25 April 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
Yesterday evening mourners gathered in Ramallah and Gaza in memorial events for ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni. The events were planned to coincide with Vittorio’s funeral in Bulciago, Italy, which was attended by hundreds of people.In Ramallah, crowds gathered outside the municipality to hear speeches made by friends, politicians and fellow solidarity activists. Those who had known and worked with Vittorio, including friends from Gaza, recounted their memories of him whilst others spoke of his dedication to Palestine and the importance of the work he had been doing in the West Bank and Gaza. From the Palestinian speakers the message was clear, this was not an act representative of the Palestinian people, and Vittorio’s death was a great loss to all who will continue the struggle for a free Palestine. Mourners also sang some of Vittorio’s favourite Italian songs in his memory.
In Gaza hundreds joined together in a commemorative ceremony held in The Gallery, a cafe and social centre which Vittorio used to frequent. Here mourners shared memories of Vittorio, danced dabka and performed rap songs written about him.
Yesterday President Mahmoud Abbas also posthumously honored Vittorio and Juliano Mer-Khamis with the ‘Medal of Jerusalem’ award, saying that “crediting both martyrs the honoring ‘Medal of Jerusalem’, is the least expression of gratitude for their efforts in serving the Palestinian cause.” He too made clear that “the assassination of the two activists does not reflect the traditions, habits and morals of the Palestinian people and all humans.”