And it was, absolutely. But not for the reason Ms. Arraf cited.
“Vittorio was really loved in Gaza,” she told reporters. “I didn’t think there was even a 1 percent chance they would kill him. It was a complete shock.”
Yes, he was loved. Ever since his 2008 arrival in Gaza, Arrigone had identified himself with the plight of the Palestinian people. He shared our pain, wept for our children, and opposed Israel, convinced that Zionists are responsible for all of our troubles. On April 5, thousands of Palestinians turned out to a Hamas rally to honor the Italian militant.
And now he’s dead—a “barbaric murder” and a “vile and irrational gesture of violence on the part of extremists indifferent to the value of a human life,” said the Italian Foreign Ministry. Killed by an al-Qaeda-inspired Salafi group that sees Hamas as too tame and too slow.
Mr. Arrigone is dead, not in spite of the fact that he loved and was loved, but because he did not understand.
ISM activist Rachel Corrie was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in southern Gaza in 2003 because she did not understand. That same year, a British ISM activist was shot to death by an Israeli soldier because he did not understand.
Senseless killings all.
These compassionate Westerners, along with the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Mavi Marmara a year ago and a thousand more in the 15-ship Freedom Flotilla that plans to test the Israeli blockade next month, rush into the Palestinian territories like bulls—backs arched, heads down, committed, determined, righteous, and ignorant.
They pour into Gaza to condemn and ease a non-existent humanitarian crisis. They come to bully Israel and shame the international community. They wrap black and white kefiyehs around their necks, drink strong coffee, march, and shout through bullhorns. And they die. Victims of the movement they don’t understand. Of the very religion they defend. Of the politics that manipulates them like pawns and shrugs when they are sacrificed.
Their hearts are too big for their heads. They stop their ears when we warn of the complexities of the Middle East conflicts. They get a little sand in their shoes and lamb in their bellies and think they understand. But they know nothing of the oceans of blood soaked into Middle Eastern sands over fourteen centuries, shed by Muslim swords.
They cannot or will not see that the Salafis follow in their father Muhammad’s footsteps, killing infidels wherever they find them. A caption on the YouTube video that showed a bruised and blindfolded Arrigoni called Italy “the infidel state.” To them, Mr. Arrigoni was an infidel, no matter how much he was loved by the Palestinian people.
They cannot or will not see that Hamas follows in its father Muhammad’s footsteps, playing politics when it suits them, building schools when they need to, blowing up school buses when they have the opportunity.
The good, bad, and indifferent are all Islam. And Islam, more than a religion or a cultural or political system, is an excuse. Anything and everything is justified in the name of Allah, reflecting the countless contradictions and errors in the Qur’an itself.
Unless Westerners open their eyes and ears (see www.thequran.com), and begin to act with their heads as well as their hearts, Islam will devour more victims like Vitorrio Arrigone.
More flotillas will challenge the Israeli blockade, some bringing food and activists from Western nations, others bringing long-range rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and sophisticated anti-tank weapons and explosives from Iran, Syria, Russia, and China.
And Islam will advance unopposed to fill the leadership vacuums in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.