Why We All Should Mark the Passing of Shireen Abu Akleh
Written By: James Porteous at Clipper Media Published: 13/05/2022
The murder of Shireen Abu Akleh is a horrid, despicable snapshot of the relentless, manufactured violence that has become part of our daily lives.
UPDATE: on the 13th of May 2022 the funeral service for Shireen Abu Akleh was held in Jerusalem.
If you live in the West, it is unlikely that you have seen any coverage of the mournful day in The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN, or just about anywhere else.
That is a shame for many reasons, but the main one at the moment is because the Israeli police not only beat up the people mourning the loss felt by so many people around the world, but the Israeli forces actually struck the people carrying the casket!
You can see the video below. It is extremely difficult to watch.
It is also very telling about the state of a ‘free press’ in so many places. The lack of coverage is not an oversight. It was a conscious decision, made over and over again over many days.
They should be ashamed. Really and truly ashamed.
قمع ومنع سلطات الاحتلال انطلاق مسيرة تشييع جثمان الفقيدة شيرين أبوعاقلة هو جريمة أخرى في حق شعبنا الفلسطيني المقهور، الذي يقاوم ولا يستسلم.— hafid derradji حفيظ دراجي (@derradjihafid) May 13, 2022
حتى موكب تشييع الجنازة يرعبهم، سلبوا حقها في الحياة وحقها في أن تشيع وتدفن.
لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله pic.twitter.com/nsoLJzuUKG
Most of us did not know Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. I am sure many of my former colleagues knew her and worked with her but until yesterday I was not aware of her legacy.
I now know that her loss is almost incomprehensible to the massive number of people who have been following her television reports on a daily basis for decades.
Now we have shared the tears of grief and the memories of someone who not only stood up for her beliefs but -now sadly- has died standing up for those beliefs.
No one could have expected that she would suddenly be assassinated for doing little more than doing what she had done so many times before.
There is some satisfaction in knowing that so many people have felt the pain of others as we bear witness to her death. Now hundreds of thousands of people around the world also feel as though they knew her and bore witness to her constant fight for justice.
But it is not enough.
Her murder is a horrid, despicable snapshot of the relentless, manufactured violence that has become part of our daily lives.
We are told, also relentlessly, that humans are vile and violent and it is part of our DNA to resort to violence and anger and retribution.
We have come to think that in part because for the past 20 years or more we have been fed a daily diet of war, bombings, torture, anger, and murder.
We cannot turn on the TV or read a newspaper or glance at our daily ‘news feeds’ without seeing these things, usually in graphic detail. Every single day.
But we have not set this agenda. We have not invaded sovereign countries, tortured our ‘enemies,’ declared endless wars, or destroyed not only cities but entire countries. All in the name of winning.
It is an endless war for peace.
We are not winning the war for peace. And we never will win.
We cannot continue to stand by and watch as yet another generation of young people grow up in a world fighting for peace.
Like so many past previous generations, they will live their lives afraid and angry and manipulated rather than believing in the arts and science and exploration and the common good.
They will become parents, afraid for the future of their own children as they also fight, not to become rich or powerful, but to provide a decent life for their families, filled with love and music and travel and food and a sustainable future.
We cannot continue to hide the truth and the blame for this world based on fake fiction, almost all of which are based on the unrelenting pursuit of financial glory.
The Global North is not the center of the universe. It never was. It most certainly never will be.
We can see that in the eyes of billions of people who can do little more than watch in horrific disbelief as we wage yet another senseless, useless war meant to sustain an unsustainable world order.
We have spent trillions of dollars on wars. Millions of innocent people have been murdered. More oil is used to maintain the constant wars and pre-war efforts than is used by any single country. And no, we are not going ‘green’ while that monster continues to consume our fossil fuels.
We cannot allow this to be our lasting legacy. We need to once again become part of the world order, the world that even now is striving (and succeeding) in creating science and cities and accomplishments that we can barely comprehend, were we to even see them in our daily news feeds.
These billions of people are not enemies. In fact, we all share the same enemies: The billionaires, the millionaire politicians, the obscene military industry, and the heartless CEOs and their faithful shareholders.
So we should not let this moment pass. We all need to follow her lead and find the faith and confidence and courage to become our own versions of people like Shireen Abu Akleh.
James Porteous. Originally published for Clipper Media News.
James Porteous worked as a visual researcher and archivist for Al Jazeera English for a decade, first in Washington, DC and then Doha, Qatar.