In Memory of Baha Nababta

One of the best people I’ve met in a very, very long time, a social activist and community organizer from the Shuafat Refugee Camp, Baha Nababta, was murdered three days ago by an unknown assailant, while fixing a road with hundreds of others, inside the Camp. I feel completely shattered, fluctuating between disbelief and horror, more or less minute by minute. I am still not sure how to process this. The Saturday I spent with Baha, along with the author Rachel Kushner, in and around the Shuafat Camp two weeks ago, was one of the most optimistic days I’ve had in a long time, despite the fact that we were in a cage-like refugee camp surrounded by the Separation Wall, with burning trash piled in heaps, which were only the tip of the iceberg of the vicious neglect perpetrated by the Jerusalem municipality and the occupying Israeli forces. Baha was so hopeful as he told us about his efforts to improve life inside the camp, training volunteer emergency relief teams, and his smiling conviction that before too long, the wall would fall.

I don’t feel like I have the words, yet, to memorialize Baha as he deserves to be remembered. I need more time. I keep thinking in some part of my mind that, maybe, soon, I’ll find out that it’s not true, that he wasn’t killed. This is horrifically sad, for his family, his wife and his two little daughters, and his friends and community inside the Camp, and every single one of us who knew him and even those of us who didn’t, because he was the kind of person who was trying to make Jerusalem better, more decent, more free, despite all of the forces committed to the opposite. In the meantime, I want to share a note of mourning, put together by the activist group, Free Jerusalem, that I am a part of, and who Baha took on a large solidarity tour of the camp a year and a half ago.

الله يرحمه


Hebrew and Arabic follow English

As Jerusalemite activists,
We wish to express our immense pain regarding the murder of Baha Nababta.
Baha was a person full of life, brave and wise, who never stopped struggling for justice in this life. He will be missed dearly, and his memory will stand before us as we continue the struggle against the occupation and for justice for the Jerusalem neighborhoods on the other side of the Wall.
It was an immense privilege to work with you, Baha. Thank you for all that you taught us, and for the goodness that you shared with us.
We will continue to struggle for those things that you held dear, and against the occupation and the suffering it inflicts. We will make an effort to do so with the optimism, the creativity, the steadfastness and the bravery with which you always acted.
We wish to join, as much as possible, in the sorrow of Baha’s family, his relatives and his friends, and in the sorrow of the entire Shuafat Refugee Camp.
May his memory be a blessing.


כפעילות ופעילים ירושלמים,
אנו מבקשים ומבקשות להביע את כאבנו העצום עם הרצחו של בהאא נבאבתה.
בהאא, איש מלא חיות, אמיץ וחכם, שלא הפסיק לרגע להאבק על חיים של צדק, יחסר לנו מאד, ויעמוד לנגד עינינו בהמשך המאבק כנגד הכיבוש ובעד צדק לשכונות הירושלמיות שמעבר לגדר.
הייתה לנו זכות גדולה לעבוד איתך, בהאא, תודה לך, על כל מה שלימדת אותנו, ועל הטוב שחלקת עמנו.
אנחנו נמשיך ונאבק למען הדברים שהיו כה יקרים לך, וכנגד הכיבוש והסבל. נשתדל לעשות זאת באופטימיות, ביצירתיות, בהתמדה ובאומץ שבהם פעלת תמיד.
אנחנו מבקשות ומבקשים להשתתף, עד כמה שניתן, בצערם של משפחתו, קרוביו וחבריו, ובצערו של המחנה כולו.
יהי זכרו ברוך.
نحن نشطاء ونشيطات في القدس
نود أن نعبر عن ألمنا العظيم لمقتل بهاء نوفل نبابتة
كان بهاء شاباً مفعماً بالحيوية والنشاط والجرأة والحكمة ، لم يتوقف للحظة عن النضال من أجل حياة عادلة، وسوف نفتقده جداً ، وسيرافقنا طيفه مستقبلاً في النضال ضد الاحتلال ومن أجل إحقاق العدالة للأحياء المقدسية التي خارج الجدار .
لقد كان من حسن  حظنا أن نعمل معك ، بهاء ، نشكرك ، على كل ما علمتنا اياه ، وعلى الخير الذي تقاسمناه سوياً .
سنستمر ونناضل من أجل كل الأمور العزيزة عليك ، وضد الاحتلال والمعاناة . سنجتهد ان ننفذ ذلك بتفاؤل وإبداع ومواظبة وشجاعة كما كنت انت دائماً .
نحن نصبوا ان نشارك قدر الإمكان بعزاء  وحزن عائلته ،وأقاربه وأصدقائه ونتقاسم حزن الخيم كله عليه
رحــــــــــمـه الله