Bassem Abu Rahme, alive (photo courtesy of Khatija)
I have just learned that the young man murdered by an Israeli soldier at last Friday's demonstration in Bil'in, Bassem Abu Rahme, was someone I had met on a visit to the village last year. Fatal shootings and maimings of Palestinians by the Israeli Occupying Force are a weekly, if not a daily, occurence but somehow, if it's the face or name of someone you know, it brings the tragedy home.
The fact that Bassem was wearing a luminous yellow shirt (making him an easy target) and was standing with a group of journalists on a small hill, apart from the demonstrators, made no difference to his killer. He was shot, from a mere 40 metres distance, with a high-velocity projectile. As I say, an easy target.
Devout Muslims recite this verse upon hearing of a death: "To God we belong, and to Him we shall return". Small comfort to Bassem's family, to his friends and to all of us who admired his bravery and persistence.