To Shireen, with love

It’s been three weeks since we woke up to the news of your tragic loss.

Up until that moment, I knew who you are and what you do and I knew you were also my aunt and cousins’ lovely neighbor and friend.

Though, I usually steer away from collective anger and grief as much as I can. There comes a moment when I decide to get consumed or stay on the sidelines watching from a distance. I learned to do that as a young adult after advice from my parents who were worried about how consumed and sad I become from unjust worldly events I have no control over.

Oh, Shireen, how your loss topped the scale of not only injustice but brutality, utter cruelty, and plain murder. Moments after learning the terrible news, I knew I was in, and deep. I was immediately overwhelmed, consumed with sadness and disbelief for several days. Watching how your Palestine said goodbye to you, was an unforgettable reel.

Shireen, for your family, friends, and close colleagues, you are irreplaceable. May they find  solace as they endure the pain of losing you. Yet I know from humble experience, that they will spend the rest of their lives missing you.

To the murderers, - whatever they otherwise call themselves - punishment is not an option. To them, a video of your murder is another PR disaster. A PR debt, they need to pay on some future negotiating table when buying or selling something. They can never accept nor confess this as a crime.

Yet for the rest of us though, you became an icon. An icon like no other we’ve experienced before.

A new breed of hero. Not one that promises the masses of a victory, nor theatrically defies the powerful.

We are in awe as we embrace your legacy with love and admiration.

For you to be a woman, a former daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin yet not a mother; reminds us of all of what’s possible.

For you to be a reporter, a field reporter in a war zone; brings in plain sight the risk you and your colleagues take every day to bring us human stories. To nurture our empathy, and compassion and compel action, not just sensational news.

For you to be a Palestinian, an American, a Jerusalemite, and a Ramallah resident only to remind us of the diverse and rich geo-identity a lot of us in diaspora carry within.

For you to be a Christian-born Palestinian reaffirms an important baseline; that the people, the land, the history, and the struggle is for all those who experience it.

For you to follow on your calling, despite the danger it brings you, and not let it stop you from carrying on is a loud reminder of how pursuing a life of material gain and comfort over following our calling is devoid of meaning.

To be accomplished according to all usual and unusual human-made metrics and not show it off in life or on social media, nor become larger than life is a sobering reminder of where we allow our ego to take us.

For you to be a symbol of many other deeds we will never know, but belong to your private self and circle of loved ones. We are still in awe.

All of you mattered as much as you made whole people and their stories matter.

Thank you.

May you be in an alternative universe where you are still delivering that voice to a different less harsh world.

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan