In just over 100 days of near-unrelenting bombardment and inescapable terror, in a campaign that has claimed the lives of over 24,000 people, Israel has killed more than 120 writers, poets, and journalists.
Many of these men and women were slain in targeted airstrikes, or shot by IDF snipers while wearing press insignia. Some were killed in their homes, alongside their parents and siblings, their children and grandchildren.
Haba Abu Nada (poet and novelist), Hamzah Al-Dahdouh (journalist), Refaat Alareer (poet and professor), Heba al-Abdallah (journalist), Inas al-Saqa (playwright), Mohammad Al-Salhi (photojournalist), Saleem Al-Naffar (poet), Muhammed Abu Hweidy (journalist), Nour al-Din Hajjaj (novelist and playwright), Belal Jadallah (journalist), Omar Abu Shaweesh (poet and novelist), Ala Atallah (journalist)—these are just a few names on a list that grows longer with every passing day.
No conflict in modern history has inflicted such a heavy toll on the literary and journalistic communities of a nation, and yet so many prominent Western journalists and writers have remained silent as their peers in Gaza are systematically slaughtered.
The murdered writers and journalists of Gaza deserve to have their lives, and their work, remembered, especially by those of us whose governments have funded, armed, and provided unconditional diplomatic cover to their killers. Thankfully, despite the bleak and dispiriting political landscape, there are institutions and individuals in this country committed to that idea.
Writers Against the War on Gaza (WAWOG)—an ad hoc coalition of writers, editors, and other culture workers “committed to solidarity and the horizon of liberation for the Palestinian people”—has been instrumental in building the resistance movement to Israel’s war on Gaza among writers and journalists here in the U.S. In October, the group published a powerful statement of solidarity that has so far been signed by over 10,000 writers and culture workers. In the weeks since, they have organized numerous protests and demonstrations, including a vigil for Palestinian journalists on the steps of the New York Public Library last month.
On January 18 in Los Angeles and January 24 in New York City, WAWOG will stage candlelight vigils “in memory of all the writers, poets, and journalists killed in the ongoing genocide in Palestine.”
The vigils will feature readings from the work of Gaza’s martyred writers, poets, and journalists. Attendees are being encouraged to bring flowers, candles, and kuffiyehs to honor the dead.
The LA vigil will be held at Our Lady of the Lake at Echo Park Lake at 6:30 PM PST on Jan 18
The New York vigil will be held in Washington Square Park at 6PM EST on Jan 24
Update: The New York vigil, originally scheduled for January 18, will now take place on January 24 due to expected inclement weather.