Tribute to Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh: "Daughter of Palestine, she was a symbol for many young women"


In an article for AsiaNews, Father Ibrahim Faltas returned to the journey of the Christian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. "She was like a friend of the family who kept us constantly informed", writes the religious who pays tribute to an icon of journalism who every day took the floor to tell "the life of a people and the history of a country ". 

Last Wednesday, journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a popular Al-Jazeera figure, was shot in the head during an Israeli army operation in the West Bank.

"The murder" of the 51-year-old journalist was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, which called for "a transparent and impartial investigation", while Israelis and Palestinians accuse each other.

In an article published by the AsiaNews media, Father Ibrahim Faltas, a Franciscan priest and director of Christian schools in the Holy Land, paid tribute to the journalist whom he describes as a passionate woman who “devoted her life to telling what was happening in Palestine”.

“Shireen was the voice of Palestine that entered our homes. She was stopped by a bullet, which stopped a pure heart. With passion and dedication, she devoted her life to telling what was happening in Palestine, in distant villages that even Palestinians have never seen or known. »

It evokes a familiar figure, “a friend of the family”, who accompanied an entire generation.

“We are sad and upset because his face was familiar to all of us, his reports among people, in the streets, telling us what was happening in his harsh reality; she was like a friend of the family who kept us constantly informed. »

Today, as she "grabs the headlines" because of her death, he reflects on his life's work which was to show another face of Palestine, "the beauty of the land and its places saints", the successes "of young Palestinians in research, art, music". A voice which, according to the priest, has been a real support for many in a difficult context.

The cleric also reports that she has been “a symbol for many young women and girls, transmitting the passion for journalism, at a time and in a place, the Middle East, which is certainly not easy for women. For this reason, she has become an icon of journalism”.

Father Ibrahim Faltas says he met the journalist for the first time 25 years ago, when the Christmas mass was broadcast from Bethlehem. “Since then, we have developed a friendship and collaboration, which included interviews and discussions about the local Church in the Holy Land,” he says.

The day after the tragedy, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to pay their respects. According to the cleric, his death has indeed "united all of Palestine", fulfilling his dream of "transcending divisions".

“Today all of Palestine mourns Shireen. People took to the streets with his photo: Muslims, Christians, politicians from all walks of life, right, left. Today, his dream of a united Palestine, without divisions, has come true. »

As she "now lives in the arms of God the Father", the Franciscan priest affirms that the testimony of the journalist "will always remain alive" in the hearts of the Palestinians.

“Shireen now lives in the arms of God the Father, but her spirit, her testimony, will always live on among us because her voice was our voice to speak to the world from Palestine. »

Monday, Holy Land bishops accuse Israel of 'disrespecting' the Church following Israeli police intervention at the journalist's funeral on Friday. During the procession, the coffin of Shireen Abu Akleh had almost fallen from the hands of the carriers, beaten by police armed with truncheons before being caught in extremis, according to images from local television.

Father Ibrahim also “strongly condemned” this manifestation of violence.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shutterstock / Phil Pasquini

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Summary of news from March 21, 2023

By The Editorial Board
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