These Are Some of His Last Words
Refaat Alareer, one of the founders of the ‘We Are Not Numbers’ project and professor at the Islamic University of Gaza, was killed by an Israeli airstrike.
Professor Alareer was not an ordinary intellectual. He was an educator, who has inspired countless young people in Gaza to take charge of their own narrative and to tell the story of Gaza and Palestine based on their own experiences.
“(Refaat) authored many books and wrote tens of stories about Gaza. Refaat’s assassination is tragic, painful and outrageous. It is a huge loss,” his friend and We Are Not Numbers co-founder, Ahmed Alnaouq, wrote on X on Thursday.
On November 30, Alareer spoke to The New Arab about his decision not to evacuate northern Gaza.
“Israel is destroying Gaza in a way that will impact life for decades to come,” he told the UK-based news website at the time.
“Refaat was one of my inspirations in Gaza. Beyond brilliant and charming, he was simply kind and genuine as a person,” Ramzy Baroud, a Gaza-born intellectual and author said.
“I felt that everything he wrote or uttered represented a priority for us around the world. We were guided by him, and people like him. His death has completely disoriented me,” Baroud added.
Alareer, a beloved English professor, communicated some of his last thoughts through his X profile.
“If I must die, you must live to tell my story,” he wrote in a poem, published on November 1. “If I must die, let it bring hope, let it be a tale”.
On December 4, as Israeli airstrikes on his neighborhood intensified, Alareer wrote a tribute to the Palestinian Resistance, who is confronting the invading Israeli forces:
“I wish I were a freedom fighter,” he said, “so I die fighting back those invading Israeli genocidal maniacs invading my neighborhood and city.”
The strongest message, however, is in his last words, also written on X on December 4. Sharing a video featuring United States Vice President Kamala Harris, Alareer wrote, with unmistakable clarity:
“The Democratic Party and (US President Joe) Biden are responsible for the Gaza genocide perpetrated by Israel.”
“Refaat’s death is not the end of the story, but the start of a new chapter of intellectual resistance,” Baroud said.
“I am so sorry, Refaat. I was hoping that we would continue to work together for years to come, but I promise you, your tale will always be told.”
In ‘Gaza Writes Back’, he wrote,
“It is when darkness prevails that I sit by the window to look past all those electricity-free houses, smell the sweet scent of a calm Gazan night, feel the fresh air going straight to my heart, and think of you, of me, of Palestine, of the crack, of the blank wall, of you, of Mama, of you, of my history class, of you, of God, of Palestine—of our incomplete story.”