Thu 18-April-2024

Dr. Refaat Alareer: The voice of Gaza who will never die

Friday 8-December-2023

GAZA, (PIC)

A couple of days ago, Israel killed Gaza’s voice, Dr Refaat Al-Areer, in a cowardly air raid on his sister’s house. His brother, sister, and her four children were also murdered in the bloody attack.

Dr. Refaat Alareer was an academic, editor, poet, writer, and lecturer. He authored many books and wrote tens of stories about Gaza, including the 2014 anthology Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine, published by Just World Books.

He also contributed to Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire, edited by Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing and Michael Merryman-Lotze, published in 2022 by Haymarket Books.

Dr. Refaat was a co-founder of We Are Not Numbers, a project launched in Gaza after Israel’s 2014 attack, to mentor and support young writers in the besieged territory to tell their stories to the world.

In his contribution to Light in Gaza, titled “Gaza Asks: When Shall this Pass?”, Refaat writes:

“It shall pass, I keep hoping. It shall pass, I keep saying. Sometimes I mean it. Sometimes I don’t. And as Gaza keeps gasping for life, we struggle for it to pass, we have no choice but to fight back and to tell her stories. For Palestine.”

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) also mourned with grief and pride Dr. Refaat Al-Areer, describing him as one of the pillars of the PIC English language site and the founder and manager of its social media department.

He was mourned by hundreds of social media users from all over the world. 

Thousands of tweets shared Dr. Refaat’s pithy quotes on Gaza life, Israeli aggression and occupation. 

Head of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor Dr. Ramy Abdo shared a photo of him along with Dr. Refaat with a caption: “We started to dream together. They killed you. We will continue, my friend, until we meet again.”

Electronic Intifada also expressed shock, anger and deep sadness over his loss, describing him as “a proud son of Gaza City’s Shujaiya district.”

Throughout this genocide, Refaat never stopped writing, supporting his students and bringing Gaza’s voice to the world. We will make sure it continues to be heard, the online Chicago-based publication said on X platform.

Palestinian journalist Ahmed Alnaouq said in an X post “Refaat’s assassination is tragic, painful and outrageous. It is a huge loss.”

Refaat was immortalized by his words and through his students, who carry on his legacy of fighting for truth and liberation.

He wrote on 1 November:

“If I die, let it be a tale.”

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

Note: Some of the above information was taken from the Electronic Intifada website.

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