Vittorio Arrigoni – known as Vik – was a human rights activist, writer and blogger. He was born in Brianza and lived in Bulciago (Lc). A graduate in accounting, he worked for a short time in the family business. At the age of twenty, he participated in humanitarian cooperation missions that brought him, first to Eastern European countries, then to Peru and Africa. In 2002 he joined the NGO International Solidarity Movement, took an interest in the Palestinian cause, the humanitarian situation in Lebanon and the occupied territories moving to the Gaza Strip. In 2005, without being informed, he was put on the black list of people unwelcome to Israel. He returned to Gaza in 2008 and received honorary Palestinian citizenship. He began to write articles from Gaza, for Il Manifesto, for Peace Reporter, The Electronic Intifada, Radio Popolare, and Caterpillar. From July 2004, he published the blog reports Guerrilla Radio and gained international notoriety. In those years Vittorio was the only Italian reporter in the field who covered the Israeli offensive called “Molten Lead” between December 27th 2008 and January 18th 2009 with thousands of Palestinian victims. Immediately afterwards he published the book “Gaza. Let’s Remain Human “, a collection of his reports from Gaza, which was also published in English, Spanish, French, German and Arabic, with the addition of a postscript by the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé. The greeting “Let’s Remain Human” accompanied all his reports and is still often used in his memory today. On April 14th 2011, a commando kidnapped him as he exited a gym in Gaza. In a video posted on YouTube he is shown blindfolded and bound. The following day Vittorio was killed. He was 36 years old. The reasons remain unclear.
(Update by Alberta Del Bianco and Raffaella Della Morte – 3 May 2020)
- 2011 – Homicide trial begins before the Gaza Military Court.
- 2012 – The investigation identifies four Palestinian leaders: Abu Ghoul 25, Khader Jram 26, Mahmoua al-Salfiti 23 and Tamer al-Hasasna. The judges sentenced two of the alleged material perpetrators, Mahmoua Salfiti and Tamer al-Hasasna, to life imprisonment. Two others had been killed during the attempt to capture them. Khader Jram, Arrigoni’s neighbour, was accused of having provided decisive information to the killers, is sentenced to 10 years. Amer Abu Hula, who had made his home available to the commandos, to one year of imprisonment.
- 2013 – After the appeal of the condemned, the military court of appeal in Gaza reduced the sentence for two of the four Salafis previously sentenced to life in prison to 15 years. The judges accepted their appeal, condemning them only for kidnapping and no longer for active participation in the killing of Arrigoni. The Arrigoni family has always declared itself against the death penalty for murderers. A few weeks later, Jram’s sentence was also reduced from 10 to 5 years.
- 2015 – In 2015, one of Arrigoni’s killers escaped from the Gaza prison and managed to enter Syria where he appeared to have joined the ISIS militants. This news, released by a local news agency, was substantially confirmed by the fugitive’s family. In November of the same year, Mahmoua al-Salfiti died in Iraq where he was fighting for Isis.
- VI edition of the City of Sasso Marconi Award “To the great communicators of our time”, Sasso Marconi, 2009
- V edition of the Witness of Peace Award, Special “Rachel Corrie” Award, Ovada, 2010
- VI edition of the Literary Prize “Florence for the Promotion of Peace dedicated to Tiziano Terzani”, (in his memory)2011
- XVI edition of the Borsellino Prize, Award for “Civil Commitment”, 2011 (in his memory)
- Two Anpi (national association of partisans) sections (Ferrara and Aprilia) and two Arci (an association of the anti-Fascist left) sections (Enna and Piacenza) have been named after Arrigoni
- At the Casa del Jazz in Rome, Arrigoni is remembered on the plaque listing the Innocent Victims of the Mafia at the entrance and on Ossigeno’s commemorative Panel.
- A themed mural was created among the murals of San Bartolomeo in Galdo.
- Another mural is in via Balbo in Turin, next to the one dedicated to the partisan Dante di Nanni.
Several songs have been dedicated to Arrigoni:
- أناديكم (Unadikum) – song by Tawfiq Zayyad, sung by the hip-hop Palestinian DARG team of Gaza for Vittorio Arrigoni
- Canta Palestina – Enzo Avitabile feat Amal Murkus
- A normal life (Song for Vittorio Arrigoni) – Marco Rovelli
- Human Remains – 99 Posse
- Stay Human – Radiodervish
- Ballad for Vik – I Luf
- Let’s remain human – Fedez
- Two possibilities – The Guilt
- Vittorio – Minor Swing Quintet
- Let’s remain human – Sine Frontera