Shireen: Silencing Victim Voices | Opinion

I’m not ready to talk about Shireen in the past tense. Not today. Maybe never.

Shireen has been reporting on the brutality of the Israeli occupation for decades, only to fall victim to its bloody madness; she has spent her life exposing the madness.

Ms. Abu Akleh is a household name in the Arab world. Remote and ubiquitous in countless homes, from Rabat to Riyadh.

As a seasoned journalist, she has been a courageous voice from Palestine, resounding around the world. Where seasonal reporters come and go, she is there day after day, year after year, face-to-face with the occupiers of her homeland, giving voice to the voiceless Palestinians.

Shireen’s voice is steady—a soothing, believable sound. Even in the face of the most dire situations and bloodiest scenarios, always remain calm, calm and composed.

Alas, this is more than expected.

She wanders the streets of Palestine and through the alleys of refugee camps, conversing with the world in such an eloquent way that there is something earthy and magical about it. So clear and confident.

Always be truthful and objective. Yes, always measured. Never lose her nerve.


As a war correspondent, she still has an aura of philanthropy. Incredibly humane in an inhumane setting. She is a passionate journalist whose passion reflects an enviable mix of love and pain for her miserable home.

It’s fitting that Shireen was born in Jerusalem, in the center of Palestine, after the 1967 Israeli war and occupation. She came from a Christian family in Bethlehem and studied journalism, but worked first at UNRWA, then MIFTAH, promoting dialogue and democracy, before moving to journalism full-time.

In 1997, Shireen became a dedicated journalist, a Jazeerian, and for 25 years, she shone a light on dark times, always generous with her time and never backing down.

As a member of the Arab media scene, among industry giants, she has given Al Jazeera a unique identity and helped it report from the heart of the Arab world.

Yes, she’s always been a war correspondent, but Shireen has also been an investigative reporter for decades — covering crime scenes, gathering evidence, gathering leads, and uncovering criminals.

Watching old newsreels showing young Shireen speaking with calm confidence and reflecting on how she grew up under occupation, or should I say, on top of a profession – one that’s been going on for over half a century Inhumane profession, it’s surreal. And there is no end in sight.

Let’s not confuse Shireen’s memory with platitudes and intrigues about her death.

Shireen doesn’t make clichés.

Whoever or which soldier pulled the trigger, she was a victim of Israeli occupation. As if killing her in the morning wasn’t enough, Israeli security had to raid her house in the afternoon. Why? Because that’s who they are. As for the rest of us, her fans, friends and family, let us salute her with solemnity and love in the way she has paid tribute to us for so long.

Shireen means “fresh beauty” in Arabic. So, she has been there.

Today we mourn Shireen, and tomorrow we despise her murderer.

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