Remembering Vittorio:

“Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will live on in you.”  – Che Guevara

A letter from Vittorio’s mother

One has to die to become a hero, to hit the headlines and to have TV crews around the house, but does one have to die to stay human? I recall Vittorio in the Christmas of 2005, detained and incarcerated in the Ben Gurion Airport, the scars left by the handcuffs that cut his wrists, the denial of any contact with the consulate, the farcical process. And I recall Easter that same year, when just across the Allenby Bridge at the Jordanian border the Israeli police blocked his entrance in the country, put him on a bus and, seven against one (one of the seven was a policewoman), they beat him up “with skill”, without leaving any external marks, like the real professionals they are, then hurling him to the ground and throwing at his face, as a last scar to add to the others, the hair they had ripped off him with their machines.

Vittorio was unwanted in Israel. Too subversive, for having joined his friend Gabriele one year earlier and demonstrated along with the women and men of the village of Budrus against the Wall of Shame, teaching them the lyrics and singing together our most beautiful partisan song ‘O bella ciao, ciao…’. (see below)

Back then no TV crew came by, not even when in the Fall of 2008 a commando attacked in Palestinian waters off Rafah the fishing boat he had boarded. Vittorio was incarcerated in Ramle and soon after sent back home with nothing but the clothes on his body. Nevertheless, I cannot but be thankful to the press and television that have approached us with composure, that have ‘besieged’ our home with restraint, without excesses and that have given me the chance to talk about Vittorio and about his ideals and the choices he made.

This lost child of mine is more alive than ever before, like the grain that has fallen to the ground and died to bring forth a plentiful harvest. I see it and hear it already in the words of his friends, above all the younger among them, some closer, some from afar. Through Vittorio, they have known and understood, and now even more, how one can give ‘Utopia’ a meaning, like the thirst for justice and peace, how fraternity and solidarity still stand and how, as Vittorio used to say, ‘Palestine can also be found at your doorsteps’. We were a long way from Vittorio, but now we are closer than ever, with his living presence magnified at every passing hour, like a wind from Gaza, from his beloved Mediterranean, blowing fierily to deliver the message of his hope and of his love for those without a voice, for the weak and the oppressed, passing the baton.

Stay human. – Restiamo umani.

The above is a translation of the letter written by egidia beretta arrigoni, mother of vittorio arrigoni, translated by Sebastiao Nascimento

Bella Ciao Vitto
Scenes in Gaza after Vittorio’s murder…..


  1. skulz fontaine said,

    April 20, 2011 at 15:12

    Dear Ms. Arrigoni:
    There must be something about the weather for this time of year or maybe there’s something in the water. For whatever the reason, workers for peace are butchered by cowards and, it’s beyond synchronicity that this is the time of year atrocities like this happen.
    Why do the true men/women of peace
    die at the hands of violence?
    When their work is never through
    When there is always so much left to do
    and for just the briefest of moments
    our world stops to stare and then
    it’s back to the idiocy at hand.
    Your son lived well, in service to our fellow man, standing tall in courage.
    Small comfort and I can concede that. But, Vittorio made a global impact and I can assure you of that. You see, I know of Vitto’s work and I live a long damn ways from Palestine.
    Solidarity in these are darkest of times. You are in our prayers Mother and that’s got to mean something.
    most respectfully yours,
    Skulz Fontaine
    el Gran Norté Blanco

  2. ben said,

    April 20, 2011 at 17:02

    Remembering Vittorio


  3. Deborah said,

    April 21, 2011 at 02:36

    There is nothing I can say to feel the void…I am a mother also. Your son was glorious a true warrior; yours will remain in my heart more than most mothers sons. He gave willingly, he gave knowingly, his life was full…he did what he was born to do…a true avenger a warrior. God loves him, God knew what was to come…the people of Palestine must have marveled at this courage, I know that I do. My love, my respect, my awe goes to you…God bless you…I do share your pain, I do share your tears that is all that I can do for you.

  4. zazz said,

    April 21, 2011 at 05:59

    Vittorio stands in the blessed company of the living Jesus and other divine creations who gave up their lives on earth to help the oppressed and speak the truth. Evil may kill the body but cannot touch the soul. The Creator is of the living not of the dead. Vittorio lives in the glory and magnificence of the Creator.

  5. Jewel said,

    April 21, 2011 at 09:47

    From one mother to another there are no words that can be said that can fill the void in your heart.No parent should have to bury their child whatever the curcumstances, my thoughts and prayers are with you x

  6. Rahman Hyder said,

    April 21, 2011 at 15:39

    rest in peace, brother

  7. April 26, 2011 at 17:49

    […] desertpeace.wordpress.com Za: […]

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