Three months have passed since April 15, 2011, that damned day when Vittorio Arrigoni’s life was ripped away from us at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. The truth surrounding his disappearance and the reasons of who and why anyone would have wanted his death are still to be unveiled.
Hamas authorities continue to keep three commando members of the group who allegedly executed and organized the kidnapping of the Italian volunteer and have yet to disclose the results of the interrogations and developments of the investigations. Why wasn’t the 30 hour ultimatum respected? Why does the video shown by the kidnappers last only 25 seconds? We saw Vittorio’s bloodied face and taped up eyes being held up by the arm of one of the terrorists, yet as we have seen unfortunately in the past, when a group of terrorists kidnap someone, the appeal is made by the victim to demonstrate that they are still alive. As it happened to Giuliana Sgrena and the late Enzo Baldoni in “Iraqi style”. Why wasn’t it the same for Vittorio? What really happened between the night of April 14 and 15th? We still do not know.
Journalist Michele Giorgio from the Italian newspaper “Il Manifesto” published an article on June 15, 2011 where he interviews Sheikh Abu Musab, one of the leaders of the Al Quaeda inspired group “Twaid Wail Jihad”. He denied any involvement of his group in the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, stating that the kidnapping initiative was headed by Jordanian Breizat Abdel Rahman “only to get publicity”.
In any case, not only was the life of a courageous and honest human being lost, but we also lost one of the few free voices that we can count on during such a dramatic time in the Arab world and Middle East. A time when the Israeli/Palestinian crisis could burst from one moment to the next. A time when the war in Libya continues unabatedly, reaping innocent victims. A time in which the long-awaited reforms in Egypt have yet to take place and the protests of the people have gotten even stronger. A time when Syria is at the brink of civil war and Lebanon risks exploding.
One thing for sure is clear: Vittorio was an inconvenience to everyone. He made Israel uncomfortable because he denounced the attacks and harassment towards the population of Gaza every single day. He made the local authorities uncomfortable because he denounced the daily civil rights violations. And he was an inconvenience to all of the West because he revealed the heartbreaking situation in which the Palestinians found themselves and brought to light the incapacity of the West in bringing true peace to the Middle East.
Vittorio was an irritant simply because he was able to express something that few are capable of expressing: Courage.
This article was originally published at Ebdomadario.com, an Italian news website that focuses on politics and culture.