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Friday, February 16, 2024

Beloved Palestinian poet killed by Israeli strike

This poignant tale takes a devastating turn as Alareer, along with his family, becomes a victim of an Israeli strike,

In the midst of the enduring conflict that has ensnared the region, the resonant voice of Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer has been tragically silenced. The literary world now grapples with the profound loss of a prolific writer who deliberately chose English as his conduit to convey the narratives of his homeland. This poignant tale takes a devastating turn as Alareer, along with his family, becomes a victim of an Israeli strike, leaving behind a legacy of words that echo themes of resilience and hope.

Literary Prowess in English 

Refaat Alareer emerges as a guiding light for a new generation of Gazan writers who opt to articulate their experiences in English. As a distinguished professor of English literature at the Islamic University of Gaza, Alareer immerses himself in the works of Shakespeare while navigating the turbulent reality of his homeland. His decision to write in English extends beyond a mere linguistic preference; it represents a deliberate choice to convey the Palestinian narrative to a global audience, transcending borders and overcoming barriers.

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Personal Bond Through Shared Experiences

The announcement of Alareer’s untimely passing reverberates through the sentiments expressed by his close friend and fellow poet, Mosab Abu Toha. Together, they shared experiences, including the simple joy of picking strawberries, illustrating a camaraderie forged through mutual challenges and a deep affection for their homeland. Amidst the ongoing conflict, these personal narratives inject a human touch, resonating particularly with those who intimately connected with him.

Standing Firm in Northern Gaza

In the face of adversity during Israel’s ground offensive in October, Alareer steadfastly remains committed to northern Gaza, the epicentre of the conflict. His refusal to leave, despite escalating danger, reflects not only personal courage but also a determination to bear witness to the unfolding tragedy. The poet’s unwavering stance becomes a symbol of resilience amid chaos.

Bridging Voices

As a co-founder of the “We are not numbers” project, Alareer plays a pivotal role in connecting Gazan authors with mentors abroad. This initiative aims to amplify the voices of young Palestinian writers, providing them with a platform to articulate their experiences in English. Notable works, including “Gaza Writes Back” and “Gaza Unsilenced,” stand as testaments to Alareer’s commitment to fostering literary expression amid the tumultuous backdrop of conflict.

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In November, Alareer crafted a poignant poem titled “If I must die,” resonating with readers worldwide. Shared tens of thousands of times, the verses conclude with a powerful declaration: “If I must die, let it bring hope, let it be a tale.” These words, now etched in collective memory, encapsulate the essence of Alareer’s poetic legacy—a call for hope amidst the darkest of times.