I’m not ready to talk about Shireen in the past tense. Not today. Maybe never.
Shireen has covered the cruelty of the Israeli occupation for decades, only to fall victim to its utter bloody insanity; madness that she spent her entire life exposing.
Mrs. Abu Akleh is a household name in the Arab world. She far away but omnipresent in countless homes from Rabat to Riyadh.
An experienced journalist, she has been that brave voice from Palestine that resonates around the world. Where temporary reporters come and go, she has been there day after day, year after year, face to face with the occupants of her homeland, giving a voice to the voiceless Palestinians.
Shireen has had that steady voice, a soothing, believable voice. He is always calm, cool and collected, even when he is faced with the most horrible circumstances and the bloodiest scenes.
Which is more common than imaginable, unfortunately.
There is something modest yet magical about the way he has walked the streets of Palestine and walked the alleys of its refugee camps, speaking to the world with such eloquence; such clarity and confidence.
Always factual and objective. And yes, always measured. Never lose your temper.
A war journalist, however, he has a charitable aura about him. Incredibly human in the midst of an inhuman environment. She is a passionate reporter, where her passion reflects an enviable mix of love and sorrow for her long-suffering homeland.
It is fitting that Shireen was born in the heart of Palestine, in Jerusalem, just after Israel’s 1967 war and occupation. Coming from a Christian family in Bethlehem, she studied journalism, but first worked at UNRWA and then MIFTAH, promoting dialogue and democracy, before devoting himself to journalism full-time.
In 1997, Shireen became a dedicated reporter, a Jazeerian, shining a light on a dark age for a quarter of a century, always generous with her time, never holding back.
A fixture of the Arab media scene, among the giants of the profession, it gave Al Jazeera its distinctive color and helped deliver coverage from the very heart of the Arab world.
She’s been a war reporter, yes, but for decades, Shireen has also been an investigative journalist, covering crime scenes, collecting evidence, compiling clues, and exposing criminals.
It is surreal to see old newsreels showing a young Shireen speaking with quiet confidence and reflecting on how she has come of age under the occupation, or should I say, as well as an occupation, an inhuman occupation that has now lasted for over half a century. and there is no end in sight.
Let’s not clutter Shireen’s memory with clichés and conspiracies about her death.
Shireen doesn’t do clichés.
She is the victim of the Israeli occupation, regardless of who or what soldier pulled the trigger. As if killing her in the morning wasn’t enough, Israeli security had to raid her house in the afternoon. Why? Because that’s what they are. As for the rest of us, her fans, her friends and family, let’s honor her the way she has long honored us, solemnly and lovingly.
Shireen, in Arabic, means “fresh beauty”. So she has been.
Today we mourn Shireen, tomorrow we despise her killers.