Egyptians hold candlelight vigil for Gaza peace activist

Mohamed El Hebeishy, Wednesday 20 Apr 2011

More than 200 people gathered yesterday in front of the Italian Embassy to pay respect to pro-Palestinian peace activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, who was allegedly murdered by Salafists

A Candlelight Vigil for Vittorio Arrigoni 01
A Candlelight Vigil for Vittorio Arrigoni 01– Photo by Mohamed El Hebeishy

With a candle in one hand and a placard in the other, mourners from Italy, Egypt, and Palestine participated in yesterday’s one-hour candlelight vigil. Sharing a moment of grief, boundaries of language, race, and colour tumbled down as mourners held onto their “We are all Vittorio Arrigoni” placards.

“He was such a great man, and though I don’t even know Italian, I followed him enthusiastically, reading whatever translated blogs I could get my hands on,” commented Mohamed Nusair, a young Egyptian who played a pivotal role in organising the event. 

Not all those who attended the vigil were hardcore peace activists; some are more of bystanders when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its side effects.

One such in the crowd is Alessia Di Basilio, a long time Cairo resident who felt quite appalled by Vitorrio’s assassination.

“This is like dragging you from your own bedroom to the middle of the street and putting a bullet right between your eyes. What point does this make? It is insane and totally inhumane,” commented Ms Di Basilio.

36 year-old peace campaigner, Vittorio Arrigoni, was found dead last week, hours after being taken hostage by a Salafist group in the Gaza Strip. The radical group, who are in conflict with Hamas, had wanted to trade Vittorio for the release of their detained leader, Sheikh Abu Walid Al Maqdasi. Since Hamas came to power in 2007, they have not dealt with any kidnappings of this kind. Hamas vows to dig out the perpetrators to face justice.

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