29 May 2011 | Nathan Stuckey, International Solidarity Movement – Gaza
Many of you here have known Victor longer than I. I will not tell you about what a great person Victor was, you already know that. I will instead offer you a Victor you might not have known, a Victor that fate never allowed.
Victor was a writer. He had “Muqawama”, Resistance, tattooed onto his arm. The same ink that had inscribed Resistance onto his arm flowed from his pen to inscribe resistance onto paper when he wrote.
Victor studied accounting as a young man. Imagine, a young Victor dreaming of being an accountant; the accountant of resistance.
You are all familiar with Yasser Arafat’s famous speech to the UN with the gun and the olive branch. Try to picture Victor giving a speech there instead of Arafat. Victor strides out to the lectern. He raises his arm. The crowd can see that he does not have a gun in his hand, what he has is Resistance inscribed onto his arm. I have never been able to write his speech, but I can imagine it. It is about the importance of fighting for justice, for freedom, the importance of not closing your eyes.
Victor came to Gaza three years ago. He came to be part of a struggle for freedom, for justice; to oppose a modern state intent on erasing a people; to protest a Kafkaesque world where fisherman fish in tunnels carved from sand deep under the earth instead of in the welcoming arms of the sea; a world where concrete is forbidden; a world where farmers are forbidden to plow their lands while their children live on food from cans.
Victor had inscribed resistance onto his body. Look around yourself. Look at the person sitting next to you, your friends here, your family. How many of you have resistance inscribed on your bodies? I do not know many of the people here, but I do know the family of Jabur Abu Jeila. I cannot think of a family more appropriate to host this memorial, to have hosted Victor in their home so many times. This is a family with Resistance inscribed on their bodies. Just as the house we stand in front of is scarred by the bullets of the occupation, so too is Jabur’s family. Jabur has a bullet in his stomach, Leila has a bullet of the occupation in her hip, Etufa’s face is washed by tears for her murdered friend, killed just days before the murder of Vik. Look around yourself, think of your friends and neighbors, think how many of them have resistance inscribed on their bodies. They are all Victor. When you resist, you are Victor. As long as there are people with Resistance inscribed on their bodies, as long as you are willing to inscribe resistance on your body, Victor lives. He lives on in you. Thank you. Stay Human.