Thursday, April 21, 2011


Before he was kidnapped, I didn't know *of* Vittorio Arrigoni, much less know him in person. I'd never read about him, or encountered anything he'd written himself. I didn't even follow him on Twitter.

I do follow many people from Gaza, however, and @AmoonaE, residing in Paris, was the first I saw to tweet the news. An Italian activist has been kidnapped, she said - let us all start with prayers. Then she changed her Twitter picture to one of a dashing, very Italian-looking man with a pipe (read: handsome).

For the next couple of hours, I was intently following what was happening. Many other people began to tweet about him using the hashtag #FreeVittorio - I did too. @EbaaRezeq90 tweeted about how she was sure her friend would be back and safe, laughing with them about the ordeal, and would watch the Real Madrid-Barcelona game with them day after tomorrow; he was a Barca fan. I smiled at that - I was looking forward to that game myself, backing Madrid. Then it was late, and I went to sleep.

I woke up at 5 to pray; I woke up to the news of his death. And I began to cry.

For the next few days I was, to put it mildly, obsessed with what had happened - not because of my hormones, no - he was good-looking, sure, but an exemplary and heroic man first and foremost. I voraciously read about it, watched Al Jazeera like a hawk until their segment about his death, and got suspiciously shiny eyes once more at the sight of such a vibrant, good-hearted face, so alive!

I really cannot say more than the people who knew him have. I just wanted to share my own personal experience (and maybe explain to some of you tweeps why I was constantly tweeting about him for a few days). In his death he touched so many of our lives; once again I only wish I had known him before his heart stopped beating for Palestine.

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