Solace of the Lasting Kind
Shireen Abu Akleh and Oskar Schindler’s lifespans only overlapped by four years. In death their graves are mere metres apart in Zion Cemetery high on a hillside in Jerusalem close to the site of The Last Supper. Shireen was born in Jerusalem in 1971 into a Palestinian Arab Christian (Melkite Catholic) family. She became a journalist and worked for the Arabic language television channel Al Jazeera for 25 years, reporting in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories while also analysing Israeli politics. In May 2002 while covering a raid by the Israel Defence Forces on the Jenin refugee camp she was shot and killed despite wearing a press vest. The death of this much loved reporter caused international outrage and investigations into the circumstances of the killing still continue.
“I chose journalism to be close to people,” Shireen shared. “It might not be easy to change the reality but at least I bring their voice to the world. Of course I get scared. In a specific moment you forget that fear. We don’t throw ourselves to death. I go and try to find where we can stand and how to protect the team with me before I think about how I am going to go up on the screen and what I am going to say.”
Born into a Catholic family in Moravia in 1908, Oskar became an industrialist and member of the Nazi party. He is credited with saving 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in Moravia and occupied Poland. He gradually changed his focus from profit to people, bribing Nazi officials to keep his workers safe. In 1962 Oskar and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations, an award bestowed by Israel on gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. “I had to help them,” he declared. “There was no choice.”
All is and are and will be at peace on Mount Zion. A white cat prowls between the gravestones.