Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 53 Number 33, December 21, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Stop Israel! Stop the Genocide!

Israel Assassinates Distinguished Palestinian Scholar

Refaat Alareer

Palestinians worldwide are mourning the loss of Refaat Alareer, a distinguished academic, translator, poet and activist who was targeted, hunted down and assassinated in an Israeli air strike on his sister's home in Gaza City on December 7. He was 44 years old. The world's people stand with them; they mourn with them; like them, they fight to win.

Lewisham Friends of Palestine

Refaat Alareer was a respected scholar of English literature at the Islamic University of Gaza. He was highly revered as a tribune of the people, a mentor to a generation of Palestinian youth and a voice of the resistance to Israeli occupation and aggression. One academic colleague said, "It is no exaggeration to say that Refaat used almost every lecture to encourage his students to write about the occupation and our struggle as Palestinians in Gaza." Another wrote: "Israel killed Refaat, but people like him are very hard to die. Not only did he leave his words, poems, interviews, books, posts, and stories, but he also left behind him a generation of writers and activists who will carry on the powerful work he started and never be silenced. Refaat's voice will never die as Gaza will always write back."

Memorial at University College London Vigil

The European colonialists knew that in order to wipe out a people, their culture must be extinguished. That is why after initial attempts to wipe out the Indigenous Peoples of the United States and Canada failed, the residential school system was established to commit cultural genocide against them, deprive them of their language, thought material, spirituality and value systems.

The Nazis mercilessly slaughtered the Polish intelligentsia when they invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, for the same reason. The despicable former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in his endeavour to wipe out the Greek Resistance also declared that unless Greek culture were decimated, the Greeks would remain united.

The US imperialists in launching their vicious failed "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq, wiped out the treasures of antiquity of that cradle of civilisation, and mocked and distorted the meanings communicated through their language and thought material. So too, their disinformation campaigns are all based on denigrating a people's culture, the glue which holds together the relations between humans and humans and humans and nature, cemented over the years of their existence as a people.

The deliberate attacks of the Israeli Zionists on Palestinians' distinguished intellectuals are designed to smash their unity, coherence, and lofty aims to which these intellectuals give expression. Never will they succeed. Palestine's older generations have set the younger generations a course which upholds their dignity and right to be. They fight to win. The Zionists will be defeated.

On November 1, in the heat of Refaat's and his people's courageous resistance to the current Zionist assault on Gaza, he tweeted a now-famous poem, which he pinned at the top of his page, sharing how he wished to be remembered, if he must die. It reads:

If I must die,
you must live
to tell my story
to sell my things
to buy a piece of cloth
and some strings,
(make it white with a long tail)
so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
while looking heaven in the eye
awaiting his dad who left in a blaze --
and bid no one farewell
not even to his flesh
not even to himself --
sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above
and thinks for a moment an angel is there
bringing back love
If I must die
let it bring hope
let it be a tale.

(TML Monthly Supplement)


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