“I happened to chat with Vittorio once, briefly, via Messenger,” recalls Samuele Sciarrillo. “He was writing from the Gaza Strip; he was already well-known. I was struck by his extraordinary humanity, and also his great availability, despite the fact that he had millions of things to do.”
Almost ten years after his assassination in Gaza, Sciarrillo has dedicated a long audio-form story to the humanity of Vittorio “Vik” Arrigoni, using the voice of the activist and those of relatives, friends, comrades, those who knew him and lived alongside him. It is entitled “Le Ali di Vik” (“Vik’s Wings”), and comes in the form of six podcast episodes that can now be listened to on four platforms: Spotify, Itunes, GooglePodcasts, Spreaker.
Egidia Beretta, Vittorio’s mother, collaborated on the project. For her, it was a way to continue on the path she started with her book “Il viaggio di Vittorio” (“Vittorio’s journey”): the activist always on the side of the oppressed, before, during and after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead military offensive between late 2008 and early 2009, which Vik reported on from Gaza in the pages of il manifesto, end each of his stories with his famous exhortation, “Let’s remain human.”
Vittorio Arrigoni was also a son, not just an activist. A young man who wanted to know the world, and who found in his mother the understanding and, more than anything else, the impetus needed to satisfy his curiosity, to realize his desire to travel and to fight for just causes, for people without rights.
“Although ten years have passed since his loss, Vik’s story remains a very relevant one,” says Sciarrillo, who is an employee of a multinational corporation, but first and foremost human rights advocate who is passionate about voice, editing, and audio documentaries.
“Vik’s Wings,” he tells us, “is a tribute to a great activist who had made the word into his main weapon. It is right to remember him, because it is right that the new generations should know about Vittorio and what he did. It is a relevant story for the issue of human rights—just remember the cases of Giulio Regeni and Patrick Zaki, people whose voices and testimonies they wanted to take away, and who have suffered or are suffering for the consequences, just like Vittorio.”
Sciarrillo chose the medium of the podcast, which gives importance to the word par excellence. “Each of us who listens to it will be able to imagine places, landscapes without being distracted by images,” he explains. “Giving space to the voice becomes an extra value of this project, in honor of Vittorio.”
The whole life of the activist is covered in the podcast. Vik had been all over the world, in Latin America, in Africa, in Eastern Europe. However, ample space is given to his presence and commitment to Gaza, where he died on the night between April 14 and 15, 2011. Journalists, researchers and other activists have investigated these events, which have never been fully elucidated. Books have been written and documentaries made.
Vittorio was kidnapped and killed by self-styled Salafists. The survivors of the firefights with the police which occurred during their escape said at the trial that the kidnapping of Vittorio was for the purpose of ensuring the liberation of their leader, imprisoned by the authorities of Hamas. That motivation makes little sense. They immediately strangled the Italian who was telling the world about Gaza, a few hours after they had lured him into their car. They never started a negotiation for an exchange between Vittorio and their leader.
“Vik’s Wings” also wants to contribute, according to Sciarrillo, to bringing Palestine back into the spotlight. “The Palestinian issue is far from resolved. It’s talked about less and less, even though things haven’t changed over these ten years, so it’s only fair that people know that this situation exists, giving voice to those who have seen firsthand what has happened.” And it’s a way of repeating Vittorio’s words, which are still going around the world: “Let’s remain human.”
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.