Sunday, May 15, 2022

She was Shireen Abu Akleh : Our friend from Palestine

I chose journalism to be close to people. It might not be easy to change the reality but at least I could bring their voice to the world. I am Shireen Abu Akleh.

Shireen Abu Akleh

I think if you follow the news internationally or regionally , you do not need to know whom I am speaking about. In case you do not know , I am speaking late Shireen Abu Akleh , the famous Al-Jazeera correspondent in Palestine who was killed in cold blood by reportedly Israeli occupation forces in occupied West Bank on Wednesday. 

Shireen Abu Akleh
Shireen Abu Akleh and pigeons of Palestine
 The crime made international headlines that turned in to international outcry and anger following the barbaric attack of Israeli occupation Forces on her popular funeral on Friday in occupied East Jerusalem.

If you saw the photos of this funeral then I must hint that this is the biggest popular funeral for an Arab woman journalist I have ever seen in my life on the TV screen. 

Shireen's casket carried on foot from church to cemetery at Mt Zion in Jerusalem on Friday"AFP"


Some even say that this is the biggest funeral for a public figure Jerusalem would have seen since the funeral of popular Palestinian figure Faisal El-Husseiny. Some say that it is the second funeral after El-Husseiny that allowed Palestinians from the West Bank to enter East Jerusalem for free.

Yes , Palestinians from occupied West Bank can’t go freely to East Jerusalem or another part in Palestine freely.

Now since Wednesday , I want to share some ideas that are not so organized. 

Shireen Abu Akleh was not only a Palestinian journalist who was highly respected in Palestine but she was respected by many Arabs too and that’s why many Arabs are angry.

Many people mourned her internationally as a professional or popular reporter yet none of them captured or knew what it felt for millions across the Arab world to see a familiar face like hers killed like that.

Al-Jazeera Network already has its famous and veteran team of reporters and journalists in Palestine that became like stars in the Arab world in their own way.

Shireen Abu Akleh , Elias Karam , Jivara Al-Badri and Walid Al-Omri who is the head of Al-Jazeera Office in Palestine are star reporters across the Arab world whom no other reporter reached their popularity among the Arab viewers. I do not remember Palestine’s correspondents in Al-Arabiya or Sky News Arabia with my due respect.

Everyone of them has his or her style and character.

Shireen Abu Akleh was a calm yet a serious correspondent. They are all serious but everyone of them had his or her character that I believe this is very important to become a successful reporter. We do not know much about them personally except may be Jivara is named after famous South America’s rebel figure Che Guevara.

We did not know Shireen’s religion or her background. We did not know that she used to donate to provide food for Al-Aqsa Mosque keepers who sat all Ramadan to protect it from the Israeli settlers and their attacks.

We did not know that during the invasion of Janin in 2002 , Shireen helped a mother to find her kids away from the camera. 

By the way , it was a strange moment that the invasion of Janin camp was a turning point for Shireen in her career.

On Wednesday , it was where she was killed and where she had one of many popular funerals that united Palestinian Christians and Muslims shuttering myths about this conflict. 

Back to Al Jazeera Palestine's team, that time simply transferred Palestine to millions of Arab houses across the globe in the simplest way in the hardest of time.

Despite Al-Jazeera was the first media platform to host Israeli officials openly, its coverage for what it is going in the Palestinian occupied territories thanks to that time earned them this strange love-hate relation with the Israeli state.

There is a growing demand even among Al-Jazeera reporters and correspondents to stop host Israeli officials widely that turned in to hashtags 

I stopped watching Al-Jazeera for couple of year but returned back during the Sheikh Jarrah crisis and the attack on Gaza in 2021 and I was so happy to see those old faces I grew up watching there on screen including Shireen Abu Akleh.

It was like an old reunion.

She was not famous internationally and despite her name was household one in the Arab world , she did not act like a superstar media figure like those pathetic figures we have in Egypt. I hope those figures learn a thing or two from Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral.

It broke my heart to see that team lost one of its main members. 

It broke my heart to see Jivara Al-Badri throwing rose petals on Abu Akleh’s caskets and Elias Karam crying. 

Elias Karam and Jivara Al-Badri crying hysterically on Saturday
Elias Karam and Jivara Al-Badri crying hysterically on Saturday

Walid Al-Omri holding her press vest full of blood while looking like a heartbroken father in photos was a scene I won’t forget for a man who always appears grumpy, serious and conservative on TV screens. 

Shireen Abu Akleh and Walid Al-Omri
 From appearing together for the first time in 1997 on Al Jazeera to the end in 2022


That image went viral on Wednesday showing Shireen Abu Akleh when she appeared for the first time on Al-Jazeera with her boss Walid Al-Omri in 1997 and when Walid Al-Omri headed to that Janin camp's hospital to see her dead body in a shock that can't be hidden.

It breaks my heart that Abu Akleh was killed without knowing how much she was popular and beloved across the Arab world.

She was like our friend in the occupied territories , the voice we grew up on and that’s another reason why we are furious. 

We will remain : Late Shireen from Sheikh Jarrah last year

I am so furious and sad. 

Trivia : Did you know that Israel killed 55 journalist since 2000 ? According to official statements.

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