Shireen Abu Akleh, the slain Palestinian journalist, a name to recognize for generations to come
By: Benaz Batrawi/Ramallah
Shireen, 51, spent the last 25 years reporting for Al-Jazeera Arabic Channel. Before that, she worked for other media outlets during the mid of 90ts including the Voice of Palestine and Mont Carlo Radio.
Shireen was shot dead by the Israeli Army in Jenin in the West Bank on May 11, 2022 while wearing a body armor and a helmet clearly-marked “PRESS.”
Shireen’s funeral was the longest in Palestine, lasting for three days, and going through four Palestinian cities: Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and lastly in Jerusalem, where she was laid to rest. Shireen was mourned by millions of Palestinians inside the country and in diaspora, in addition to millions of Arabs and internationals around the world.
Her colleagues at Al-Jazeera felt devastated by her assassination and cried for days during her long funeral. They all expressed their sorrow for losing such a professional, smart, objective and kind journalist.
Majdi Banoura, the cameraman who companioned her for long years and filmed her being shot dead said, “We worked together for 24 years and [I] still do not believe that she is gone, she considered us her big family.”
For the first time I cannot say or write about such an event.Jivara Budeiri, her colleague and the second female reporter at Al-Jazeera in Ramallah office
Walid Omary the Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera Office in Palestine commented in front of Shireen’s grave, “Good bye Shireen and thanks a lot for being who you are, you reunited all the Palestinian people again.”
Her childhood friend Rula Muzaffar wrote on Facebook, “What people do not know about Shireen besides being a prominent journalist that she had a child spirit, she was funny, respectful, modest, honest, and wise.”
Her only brother Anton remarked on her death that “the loss is very big but the love and respect surrounded us makes us strong and pride, thanks for all who supported us.”
Her death wounds Palestinians and journalists in the world, who until this day and age, continue to suffer or die through similar circumstances – in areas or situations of conflict while she was just doing her job. To Palestinians and journalists around the world, Shireen Abu Akleh is a name to recognize for generations to come and until such time journalism is no longer a most dangerous profession.