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Refaat Alareer’s daughter was killed by Israel in Gaza. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Shaymaa Alareer’s death comes less than five months after her father was killed, along with several family members, in a similar airstrike in the Shujaiyya neighborhood last December.

The daughter of acclaimed poet and academic Professor Refaat Alareer, Shaymaa, has been killed along with her husband and their infant son in an Israeli airstrike on their apartment in Gaza City.

Her death on Friday comes less than five months after her father was killed, along with several family members, in a similar airstrike in the Shujaiyya neighborhood last December.

Shaymaa, the eldest daughter of Prof Alareer, who was married to a Palestinian engineer, Mohammed Seyam, gave birth to their first child about four months ago.

A source at the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City confirmed that their bodies were brought to the hospital “after being extracted from under the rubble of the destroyed house” in the Al-Rimal neighborhood, western Gaza City, the Anadolu news agency reported.

Message to Her Father

When Shaymaa gave birth to her son she wrote to her deceased father, as conveyed by the Resistance News Network through their Telegram channel:

“I have wonderful news for you, and I wished I could convey it to you face-to-face, handing your first grandson to you. Do you know, O Dad, that you have become a grandfather?

“Yes, Dad, this is your first grandson, and he is already over a month old. This is your grandson Abdul Rahman, whom I have always imagined you holding. But I never thought that I might lose you too soon, even before you could meet him.”

‘If I Must Die’ Poem

A writer and intellectual, Alareer taught at the Islamic University of Gaza, and was one of the founders of the We Are Not Numbers project which “tells the stories behind the numbers of Palestinians in the news and advocates for their human rights.”

Before his death, Alareer posted on X a now-famous poem titled ‘If I Must Die’ in which he wrote: “If I must die, you must live to tell my story to sell my things…If I must die let it bring hope let it be a tale.”

As with her father’s death, social media was awash with news of her death, rekindling tributes to her father.

‘Fly Kites in Their Honor’

On X, Professor Farhana Sultana of the Syracuse University in the US wrote: “They killed Refaat Alareer’s daughter, the one to whom the poem ‘If I must die’ was dedicated to. His entire bloodline being wiped out. This is genocide. May we all fly kites in their honor, reaching the heavens.”

Ramy Abdu, the chairman of the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, posted on X: “We mourn with you the loss of Shaymaa, the eldest daughter of our dear friend Rafat Al-Araeer @itranslate123, and her husband, engineer Mohammed Abdel Aziz Siyam, along with their newborn baby, after their apartment near Al-Ramal Clinic in Gaza was targeted in an Israeli airstrike. Shaymaa joined her father Rafat in less than 5 months.”

Following Prof Alareer’s death, Euro-Med Monitor in December called for “an immediate investigation into this apparently deliberate and targeted killing of a prominent Palestinian academic, writer, poet, and activist.”

According to the organization, which collected information from witnesses and family accounts, “the apartment where Refaat and his family were sheltering was surgically bombed out of the entire building where it’s located”.

‘Telling the Story’

“As Gaza keeps gasping for life, we struggle for it to pass, we have no choice but to fight back and tell her stories. For Palestine,” Alareer wrote in his contribution in the volume ‘Light in Gaza: Writing Born of Fire’.

In a poignant tribute to the storytellers of Gaza, Palestine Chronicle Editor Ramzy Baroud wrote that Alareer “edited several books, including ‘Gaza Writes Back’ and ‘Gaza Unsilenced’, which also allowed him to take the message of other Palestinian intellectuals in Gaza to the rest of the world.

“These storytellers were all killed by Israel, with the hope that the stories will die with them. But Israel will fail because the collective story is bigger than all of us. A nation that has produced the likes of Ghassan Kanafani, Basil al-Araj and Refaat Alareer will always produce great intellectuals, who will serve the historic role of telling the story of Palestine and her liberation.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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