On the first anniversary of the passing of renowned Arab revolutionary writer and intellectual Samah Idriss on 25 November 2021, political, cultural and social events were organized around the world to commemorate his legacy of struggle and vow to follow in the path of his words: ” If we abandon Palestine, we abandon ourselves.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network chapters and affiliates organized actions and events in various cities, together with the call of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, the Masar Badil, for actions and activities in memory of Samah Idriss between 23 and 30 November, although events are continuing into December.
Samah Idriss, writer, translator and publisher, was the editor-in-chief of Al-Adab magazine and co-founder of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon, he was a leading voice for the Arab boycott movement, a co-founder of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, and a writer, thinker and revolutionary who inspired many on the road to liberation.
Palestinian prisoners issued a statement upon his passing, which has continued to inspire our activities: “Samah, we know that you have not left the mountain. You are like a mountain in your stances, and your steps are engraved in the path of this long journey.You are our beloved comrade, a companion on the hard path of struggle, a friend on the long road.Your body has left us, but your spirit will remain an inspiration to us.Your words and your positions are a beacon that we raise, debate and discuss as we walk. We will keep walking, comrade, until we get there.”
In Toulouse, France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra included the commemoration of Samah Idriss in its Palestine Stand on #PalestineDay, 29 November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Collectif posted a large sign on the streets of Toulouse in his honor, as well as taking photos of solidarity with posters honoring him.
In Madrid, Spain, Samidoun Spain joined with the Masar Badil, Alkarama Palestinian Women’s Mobilization, and Al-Yudur Palestinian Youth Organization for an event on Sunday, 27 November against the partition of Palestine.
The event included a screening of “Daughters of Nakba,” a film about Palestinian women’s struggle, as well as a presentation and discussion about the imposition of the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the Oslo accords in 1993, exposing Zionist colonialism and racism. The event also included a discussion of the life and work of Samah Idriss and his activities to build the boycott movement.
In Vancouver, Canada, Samidoun Vancouver organized a public educational event on 21 November about next steps for the Palestine movement, particularly following the City Council’s adoption of the notorious, anti-Palestinian IHRA “definition of anti-Semitism.”
Hanna Kawas of the Canada Palestine Association and Sid Shniad of Independent Jewish Voices spoke about the ongoing struggle against the IHRA, while Hanan Dudin gave a reportback from the Brussels March for Return and Liberation, and Khaled Barakat of the Masar Badil spoke about the life of Samah Idriss and his own memories of his contributions to the struggle.
On December 2, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill, the Arab Left Forum, the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Commemoration Committee for Samah Idriss will hold a film screening and a discussion with McGill professor Malik Abisaab in Montreal, Quebec, as part of the commemorative activities.
The Egyptian Socialist Party organized a commemorative event at its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, honoring Samah Idriss as well as Amin Iskander and Sayed al-Ghadban, two Egyptian intellectuals and journalists committed to the Palestinian and Arab cause. Palestinian and Egyptian speakers discussed the importance of the movement to confront normalization on the Arab level as well as the current situation of the Palestinian cause and what can be done to build greater support and involvement in the Palestinian cause.
In Lebanon, family members, comrades and activists organized a number of events to honor Samah’s memory. The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon organized a memorial event that also included cultural performances by Palestinian children and youth.
In addition, the Campaign released a report about its activities since the passing of Samah Idriss, as well as an update to its boycott guide, making clear that the boycott and anti-normalization movement continues to be highly active in Lebanon in defense of the Palestinian people and Palestinian cause.
The Center for Arab Unity Studies organized a virtual forum on Arab intellectuals and the revolutionary struggle, while the Masar Badil organized an internal symposium focused on implementing Samah Idriss’ vision for cultural struggle as part of the liberation project.
In Shatila refugee camp, the Children and Youth Center organized an event and discussion on the life and work of Samah Idriss, including his writings for children.
Al-Adab magazine, of which he served as editor-in-chief, produced a new issue specifically dedicated to his memory and including many of his writings as well as those by his comrades and colleagues.
The Lebanese Ministry of Culture held a commemoration at the National Library in Sanayeh in Beirut with the participation of the Culture Minister alongside a number of prominent lawyers, journalists and writers.
Samah Idriss was an Arab fighter and a true internationalist, one who lived his life dedicated to the cause of Palestine. We will continue to honor his life and struggle through organizing, education, mobilization and work for Palestinian and Arab liberation.