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Vik, You Are missed

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Vittorio Arrigoniby Vera Macht

You are missed with such an intensity that makes you even more present. In all of our minds, in all of our hearts. It's your absence that makes your strength, your kindness and your impressive dedication to people and to humanity so incredibly present.

You are missed as a symbol of the struggle for justice, and for the value of each individual, the value of especially those people who seem to have been forgotten.

You are missed in this world. Vik, I miss you in my world. I miss you as my best friend, as the one who was always there in the last year, in good and bad times. You once told me I should smile, because my smile would light you. But Vik, it was you who made me laugh. Not only by your great sense of humor, but through your unique way to make the world around you a little brighter, just by being there. Everybody who knew you knows that, even those who met you even just once.

You cast a spell on people, through your charisma, through your personality, through your warmth. The world has become a bit darker without you, and it is also my own little world that has become a bit darker through your absence.

And Gaza of course, which I can’t imagine without you, probably no one here can imagine it without you yet. Your Arabic vocabulary of: Mushkile? Leeesh? Mish Mushkile! Yallah! was completely enough to brighten up the people around you, and to make everyone in Gaza your rafiq and your rafiqa.

And people in Gaza have loved you and appreciated you, you knew that and you would never have thought anything else. We were all touched and overwhelmed by the grief and sympathy your death has caused. A compassion that has helped all of us to overcome our initial shock, I want to heartily thank you all for that.
Adie, my friend and ISM colleague once said, being as ISM in Gaza doesn’t only mean to support the people here, but to be a bit of a Palestinian yourself, and to join carrying the burden for a little way. To not only feel with the pain of others, but to feel for yourself what it means to lose a loved one. Because being Palestinian means losing people you love.

Whoever is behind this senseless, cruel murder, he reached exactly the opposite of what he intended. Vik, through your death, we all have become Palestinians. We are more determined than ever. We will go on, and we will continue to fight, in the spirit of your humanity and with the strength and steadfastness of the Palestinians.

Not only because you would have wanted us to, but because we couldn’t do anything else. Not the people out there that you have inspired and woken up, and not us here, being united in the same dream, in the same goal for which we fight: a free Gaza, a free Palestine.

I remember one morning in autumn. The day before had been a black day for Gaza, and so we were all together the whole night, sitting in the ISM office and writing. Vik and I left at dawn. And just as we had walked a few steps, it started to rain. The first rain of the year. And we stood in the middle of the road, feeling the rain pouring down upon us, and laughed, and suddenly it was as if the whole sadness of the last hours was washed away. As if it was a new beginning, in which the world was pure and innocent and full of hope.

I will not grieve because I know that where you went, there was such a morning waiting for you. I will not grieve, in gratitude of having gotten to know you. Because people like you show us that also for our humanity there could be such a morning waiting for us."


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