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Refaat Alareer: Palestinian Literary Voice Silenced in Attack

by | Dec 12, 2023 | News

 

The Gaza-based Palestinian poet and writer Refaat Alareer has been killed along with his brother, sister and her three children in an Israeli airstrike.  The writer was a professor at the Islamic University of Gaza and chose not to leave his home but to stay on and report what he saw which he said was far worse than what could be seen on social media.

 

His death has led to an outpouring of sorrow.  Fellow Gaza poet Mosab Abu Toha said “My heart is broken”.

 

Born in Gaz city, the 44-year-old writer He taught literature and creative writing at the Islamic University of Gaza and co-founded the organization We Are Not Numbers, which matched experienced authors with young writers in Gaza, and promoted the power of storytelling as a means of resistance.

 

Alareer edited two volumes of Palestinian short stories, Gaza Writes Back (2014) and Gaza Unsilenced (2015).  Euro-Med Monitor released a statement saying that it appeared that Alareer was deliberately targeted, saying that the apartment Alareer was in with his family was “surgically bombed out of the entire building where it’s located”, according to corroborated eyewitness and family accounts.

 

Tragedy has followed the family.  His brother, Hamada, as well as his wife Nusayba’s grandfather, brother, sister, and three nieces were killed during the 2014 Gaza war in an Israeli bombing campaign.  In total, it is reported Israel killed more than 30 relatives of Alareer and his wife.[

 

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