“People all over the Arab world trusted the words of Shireen Abu Akleh more than they did the words of their leadership”
By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat – VT Egypt
On May 11th, she was shot in the head by Israeli snipers while reporting an Israeli attack on the Palestinian “Jenin” camp in the West Bank. The killing ( rather assassination) of Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera TV Journalist, has transformed into an unprecedented global condemnation of the Israeli regime and its brutal extermination of the Palestinian activists and specifically the late systematic targeting of journalists covering the news in the occupied Palestinian territories.
It’s heartwarming to witness this unique moment in time when all powers & people are united in their support for the killed Palestinian Journalist … regardless of the hidden motives behind the EU/USA/UN and even the Japanese condemnation of the Israeli brutality & aggression against Palestinian activists & media people.
However, the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh has managed to bring the Palestinian cause to the forefront once again after decades of being relegated to the sidelines and back seats of dirty & biased international politics.
On May the 15th, the people of Palestine, the Arab world, and the free communities all over the world joined by Palestinians in the diaspora will once again commemorate the day of Nakba, aka the day the Zionist entity of Israel was established over the Arabian land of Palestine ( with the help of western political deception & complicity) back in 1948.
Strangely, this year Palestinians & Arabs will commemorate Nakba day under exceptional circumstances of widespread anger & gloominess over the loss of the prominent Palestinian activist & veteran Al Jazeera Journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.
On the day of Shireen’s funeral, I had some technical issue with my TV monitor, and a technician named Omar was working to fix this mild issue of flickering distortion… “could we watch Al Jazeera news while fixing your LCD screen Doctor” politely asked Omar but with a pleading tone.
I told him “Al Jazeera news today is all about Palestine and Israel … don’t you rather prefer to watch football instead” …. “definitely not doctor … today is the funeral of our beloved Shireen Abu Akleh … you know that an Israeli sniper had shot Shireen in the head and killed her in cold blood while she was in full Press protective gear wear, reporting the Israeli brutal aggression against Palestinians cornered in refugee camps” Omar replied with enthusiasm and a bit of anger.
“Well, I thought you did not care for politics, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian issue … you surprise me, Omar, tell me if you don’t mind … what is Israel to you as an average Egyptian who happened to belong to the Arab world?” I asked Omar.
“Well, … I’m seldom asked this question … but I’m going to answer you, good doctor.
“Israel is a name synonymous with the enemy in every Arab household. I will tell you a good story, my late father kept telling me while I was a growing kid that I had to always remember that Israel is the enemy … and that I should never forget this fact, no matter how disappointed or abandoned we might be by our politicians and leaders.
Moreover, my father insisted that I should teach my sons and daughters this fact as well” Omar, the TV technician said while we both gazed at the TV monitor.
The Al Jazeera news channel was on … the funeral of the killed Palestinian Journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh was being covered and streamed live … Omar was almost finished fixing my TV monitor. He timidly asked if he could stay for a while to watch the funeral.
I instantly agreed but I had to ask him why, I mean I wanted to know the reason why this ordinary man (with seemingly no interest in politics) was so keen to watch the funeral of some Palestinian Journalist and activist.
Omar told me with a confident tone “ In times like these where we are painfully betrayed by our leadership, people like Shireen Abu Akleh are the honest voice of the voiceless”
I kind of approved of his smart answer and we both sat on the couch sipping tea while we watched the funeral & and soon my son joined in.
The huge crowd of Palestinians and reporters who surrounded the coffin of Shireen Abu Akleh seemed to emanate sincere and vivid emotions of grief mixed with pride in their beloved reporter.
Some were chanting slogans for Palestine “ We gladly offer our souls & blood for Palestine” … that slogan became very popular after the Israeli aggressive 6-day war back in 1967 …. one of the most regrettable results of this swift & pre-emptive Israeli war is that we, Arabs & Palestinians, lost control over ancient East Jerusalem ( not to mention losing a great chunk of Egyptian, and Syrian land) …. In a way, that slogan was somehow valid in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, for she has sacrificed for the Palestinian cause with her blood.
I looked at Omar, and found him very attentive and focused on the TV screen while holding his cup of tea … so I asked him “did you know of Shireen Abu Akleh, I mean are you familiar with her work?” … Omar smiled and told me” Doctor, for the last 20 years everything that happened in the occupied Palestinian territories we were informed of because of the honest reporting of Shireen ( God rest her soul) …”
Omar was right, the Al Jazeera satellite channel with its crew on the ground had almost exclusive access ( unlike other Arab broadcasting networks) to cover the news in Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine …. And that’s where Shireen was assigned, and active ….
She reported on the Arabic Al Jazeera channel, not the English one, and that made her a familiar face and voice of Palestine news in every house all over the Arab world, not to mention the Palestinians & Arabs in the diaspora.
People all over the Arab world trusted the words of Shireen Abu Akleh more than they did the words of their leadership.
Millions followed and watched Shireen’s professional reporting of the endless & painful Israeli atrocities that occurred almost daily in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In most cases, Israeli atrocities against Palestinians passed unnoticed and unheard of weren’t for the honest and rather risky reporting by Shireen Abu Akleh.
Many foreign journalists have reported from occupied Palestine, but Shireen was indeed different. She had the calmest & yet most lamenting tone in her voice, and her eyes reflected the melancholy & pain of millions of Palestinians suffering under the brutal occupation of the Zionist Israelis, for simply Shireen was one of them.
…. Shireen was Palestinian, regardless of her additional American Passport, she was born, raised, and educated under the ruthless and unjust Zionist occupation of her native land. The land of the green olives, Al Aqsa mosque, and the Church of the Nativity… ( and not of milk & honey !!)
Shireen covered live protests and confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters all across occupied Palestine, in Eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, the West Bank, and Gaza. She first rose to prominence on the Al Jazeera network during her honest, passionate, and courageous live coverage of the Second Palestinian Intifada ( Known as Al Aqsa Intifada)
People tend to watch the news from different international networks with a bit of skepticism … but in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, there was no room for doubt or skepticism … for she was one of the oppressed Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation.
Shireen did not belong to the “ point & shoot” school of TV reporting … rather she related to the people who knew her personally after years of reporting on the ground.
She would communicate and investigate the truth and then go live and tell the actual story that in most of the cases exposed the unjustified violence and the deliberate/systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine by violently uprooting Palestinians from their native villages and homes.
On May, 15th Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day, the day Israeli gangs and militias terrorized them out of their homes and historic land over some religious/ridiculous allegations of “ the Jews returning to their Promised Land after living in diaspora for hundreds of years”.
Those who came to Palestine and settled on its Arabian land are not descendants of any historical Jews, but rather Europeans who converted to Judaism as their ancestors from Khazaria did in the 7th century AD.
This is the true history of the Zionist settlers of Palestine that had nothing to do with the ancient Israelites and their mythological tales ( which by the way never took place neither in ancient Egypt nor in Palestine)
Almost 750.000 Palestinians had fled their historic Palestinian land in an unprecedented exodus back in 1948. That was a real exodus the driving cause behind it was not some alleged pharaoh as with ancient Israelites but the Zionist terrorist militias supported by European & American superpowers pulling the strings from behind the curtain.
While the biblical Exodus is today debunked, unsubstantiated historically, and not taken seriously in the academic circles, still the Zionist state of Israel depends on it as one of the premises of its notorious establishment over Palestinian land.
Meanwhile, the historically documented exodus of Palestinians from their native and historic land is not taken seriously and not accepted by Israeli & western politicians as the ground for the right of Palestinians to return to their occupied homeland. A stark contrast that baffles the mind of a child but never troubles the conscience of top-ranking politicians in Europe, the White House, and of course Tel Aviv.
While we were watching Shireen’s funeral proceed with friends and relatives holding her coffin, suddenly we got upset and frightened. Hordes of Israeli soldiers in heavy and full battle uniforms surrounded the funeral and prevented the procession.
The sight of Palestinian flags turned the Israeli soldiers into mad dogs … they were stupidly ferocious in displaying their hatred and intolerance for the whole world to see …
The Israeli soldiers were given orders not to let the funeral of Shireen turn into some political protest of sort … but how couldn’t that be?
After all, Shireen Abu Akleh was an activist reporter who used the camera and her voice as a peaceful weapon to expose the brutal atrocities the Israeli military committed on an almost daily basis trying to wipe the remaining native Palestinians out of their homeland and villages.
Shireen was just doing that the day she was cowardly shot in the head while she was on her way to Jenin camp. The atrocities and killing of innocent Palestinians the Israeli soldiers committed in the Jenin refugee camp is the blueprint of crimes against humanity. Those crimes usually go unheard of weren’t for the courageous and highly professional reporting by dedicated journalists like Shireen Abu Akleh.
Suddenly Omar stood up and shouted “ My God, this is outrageous …. attacking mourners carrying the casket on their way to the cemetery is appalling & inhumane… may god punish those Israelis for what they deserve …. down with Israel”
I tried to tease Omar, so I told him “ but those are God’s chosen people, and this is their Promised Land … Israel has to stay strong and prosperous to make sure the prophecy of the Second coming of Christ would eventually come true”
…. Omar looked at me and stared me in the eyes … he turned into some kind of static figure for seconds … his forehead began sweating and his eyes wet with tears he tried hard to hold back …. He swallowed his last sip of tea and told me in a serious and grievous tone
“ No God in heavens would approve of this … we believe in the god of Moses and the god of Jesus as well as that of Mohammed…. But those Zionist criminals follow another god …. A ruthless god ( one we never heard of)
The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and the attack on her funeral is the greatest report she has ever given to the world …”
Indeed, the incident of attacking her funeral has exposed the zionist regime for what it really is … aggressive apartheid and a colonial regime that has absolutely nothing to do with any divine promise ….
The Zionist regime is turning Palestine into an open prison & an arsenal of (uninspected) unclear & deadly military weapons capable of wiping out the life on earth … not just in Palestine … hardly the idea of any god’s promised land.
I looked with admiration at Omar and thought to myself indeed the Israeli attack on Shireen’s funeral is her greatest piece of reporting as a free voice of occupied Palestine. After Omar left, my head was teeming with many troubling questions and ideas.
One of the questions is “ why don’t the west commemorate the Nakba day as they do the Holocaust day? The second is “why don’t the free world stand strong & united behind Palestine as they do with Ukraine?
I’m not equating Russia with Israel. I mean Russia could have justifiable reasons to defend its western borders against the ever-looming threat of the NATO & US.
But The Zionist regime of Israel is a community of foreigners from Europe/the US and even Ukraine who landed in Palestine with their foreign passports and culture to claim the Arabian land of Palestine theirs by godly mandate.
But as Omar told me, that would be an unjust God who approves of such pain, killing and forcing the whole people of Palestine out of their homeland in an Exodus that overshadows, by merit of its historical truth and real suffering, the biblical exodus.
Let’s commemorate the day of Nakba on may 15th and remember all the martyrs who gave their lives to the Palestinian cause. Let’s celebrate the struggle of many activists whose work on the ground makes the Israeli soldiers in their full combat gear freak at the sight of the Palestinian flag, reveal their Zionist ugly faces, and turn into what they really are, foreign aggressors and occupiers of the Arabian land of Palestine.
God bless Shireen Abu Akleh & and all the anonymous martyrs of Palestine … may their pure souls rest in peace. They will keep inspiring new generations of Palestinian activists and Journalists to walk in their footsteps on the path to freedom.
For more articles and videos by Ashraf Ezzat visit his website
The author is an Egyptian, born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. Ashraf Ezzat joined the staff of Veterans Today in 2009.
Graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University but keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research, documentary filmmaking, and writing. He is a regular guest lecturer at the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the national museum of Cairo.
History of the ancient Near East and specifically of Ancient Egypt has long been of special interest to him.
In his writings, Ashraf Ezzat approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a contributing factor in our existing life; and to him, history is as relevant and vibrant as the current moment.
In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom & spirituality had been obstructed and diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion.
He is the author of Egypt knew neither Pharaoh nor Moses, a kindle book published in 2015 and available on amazon.
In 2013 his short film, The Pyramids: Egyptian Genesis
The following documentaries were screened at many international film festivals in Europe.
In 2020 the documentary film: SEA OF LOVE: Transforming Journey to Egypt (Documentary)
Dr. Ezzat is working now on his upcoming documentary “Egypt knew neither Pharaoh nor Moses”.