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Heaven for Invisibles

Stories and News No. 1270

A little story about the death of a journalist who was trying to tell lives and conflicts considered uncomfortable as much as minor.

The woman has just died and is in the anteroom waiting to meet the Creator, the great Director, the big Screenwriter or the illustrious Producer of The Human Show, depending on the protagonist's personal vision of the afterlife.
"Next," announces the usher.
She gets up from her chair and enters a large hall. As soon as she crosses the threshold she immediately notice at the bottom a child who will be at most seven or eight years old, sitting in a huge executive chair in front of a no less impressive desk covered with all kinds of paperwork.
"Please, come on," he invites her to approach with a friendly voice.
"Yes... here I am," she says perplexed and surprised.
Once at the foot of the desk, the child stands up on the chair and asks her: "Who are you?"
"My name is Shireen Abu Akleh and I was a journalist."
"For real? I'm very sorry, you're so young. But I'm happy to meet you, even if the occasion isn't the best at all. Who do you write for? No, don't tell me... the New York Times, right? "
"No, it's not the Times."
“The Guardian, then? I always follow their inquiries and I still don't understand how they manage to publish those without retaliation. Is that why you died? Someone killed you, huh?"
"Yes, no... I don't write for the Guardian, but someone killed me, that's right."
“Oh, poor thing… but anyway I guess you worked for one of those newspapers that make brave scoops, badly tolerated by the strong powers of the world, like the Washington Post. Did I get it?"
"No, the truth is that I worked for Al Jazeera."
"Al Jazeera, it's an Arabic language channel."
“Oops, sorry, I know it! It doesn't arrive easily here, you know, even if it doesn't depend on us, but on you."
"I get it, don't worry."
“Thank you, but you don't have to worry, now your suffering is over. Tell me about you, when did you die? And how?"
"Yes. As I told you a moment ago, someone killed me, particularly with a blow to the head. It happened yesterday morning. "
“What a misfortune, I am truly saddened. What were you doing? Were you in Mexico fighting drug trafficking or reporting police complicity? In Brazil to investigate the flaws of Bolsonaro and his buddies? In some African country to bring to light the misdeeds of some foreign corporation? Or maybe you were in Italy and were dealing with an investigation into the mafia? I guessed it, right? Maybe you were writing about the corruption of politics? Except that by taking a look at the main news of the major Italian newspapers, I don’t seem to have found news on the front page about it. I’m surprised, a murdered journalist seems a relevant thing to me... "
"It didn't happen in Italy."
“What does that mean? It is always the murder of a colleague, if it does not arouse  attention, concern, indignation and above all solidarity by those who do your job, I have no idea what could get it."
"Yes, of course, but when a war like this is involved..."
"I see, with all the reports of deaths coming from Ukraine, it is likely that they have given priority to something else. Although, I don’t want to rage on Italy, but you do their job and you were killed on the field, while they spend time copying from the foreign media, even translating badly with Google translate... they must at least give it some prominence. "
"I was not in Ukraine, and I was following another conflict, much older and more complex."
The child suddenly is silent.
"Well, I understand now. Why didn't you say it before?"
"Of what? You just don't have to apologize for anything, quite the opposite..."
“I don't have any complaints, huh? I was just doing my job."
"And it seems little to you these days?"
"As always, I just wanted to see with my own eyes what was happening out there, in this case near the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, and despite the proximity of the Israeli army soldiers I was certain that my duty, not as a Palestinian but as a reporter, was to find myself there in the flesh to take note of true reality."
“Wait… but were the Israelis to hit you? Tell me, because this would explain the almost total absence of news of your death on the first pages above."
“The truth is I don't know who shot me. And at this point of my journey, I think it doesn't interest me much."
"Maybe, but on earth you will see that it will be the main topic, who shot and who did it first, who attacked and who provoked, who tried to fight and who didn't done nothing to avoid it, indeed, and in the meantime people die for the most varied reasons, even the most obtuse, without anyone really caring."
The woman observes the child with a look steeped in immense sadness and profound weariness. She sketches a bitter smile and her eyes become shiny.
"This is the war, isn't it?"
"Yes, my friend," says the child as he slides forward on the desk until he brings a hand to the woman's cheek to gently caress her.
This is war. And immediately after, every imaginable light is on her, to flood her with all the warmth, love and admiration that were denied in her life.

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