Despite living in a region oppressed by the Israeli occupation, he fearlessly narrated the truth regarding Palestine, relentlessly analyzing political speeches and narrating human stories often overlooked by mainstream media.
The loss of a loved one is a profound and life-altering experience, one that leaves an indelible mark on our hearts.
In my case, the passing of my father, Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, was not only a personal loss, but also a farewell to a man whose life was dedicated to the pursuit of truth and justice.
This article serves as a tribute to my father, a man whose passion for journalism transcended borders, and whose memory will forever inspire me.
Born and raised in Dura, a Palestinian village near the city of Al Khalil (Hebron), my father’s fascination with journalism started at a very young age.
He began officially working as a correspondent in the 90s after he finished his BA and MA degree in the USA, with Alshareqa TV. He then became a lecturer at Al-Khalil University and, soon after that, worked at other Palestinian universities in the West Bank.
While pursuing his lecturing career, my father worked as a correspondent and commentator for several newspapers. The more he realized the social and political complexities of his homeland the more he was compelled to use his voice as a means to shed light on the untold stories and struggles of his people.
My father’s dedication to his work was marked by immense courage. Despite living in a region oppressed by the Israeli occupation, he fearlessly narrated the truth regarding Palestine, relentlessly analyzing political speeches and narrating human stories often overlooked by mainstream media.
Whether covering Palestinian resistance to the Israeli regime, interviewing Palestinians, discussing the politics of the West Bank and Gaza, or documenting the daily struggles of Palestinian life, my father was unafraid to confront difficult truths and amplify the voices of the most marginalized people.
My father contributed to many outlets, such as Aljazeera, Mondoweiss, MZEMO, Middle East Monitor, The Palestine Chronicle, and others.
Throughout his career, he was detained many times by the Israeli occupation forces. He was not afraid of sacrificing his comfort for the Palestinian cause.
As a journalist, my father understood the transformative power of words. Through his eloquent storytelling and insightful analyses, he created empathy and fostered understanding.
Catalysts for Change
His articles were not just reporting; they were catalysts for change.
Politically, he advocated for a one-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians would live together with peace and dignity. Though he was aware that such a goal would be difficult to achieve, he saw no alternative to provide full justice for all.
My father has never been afraid of speaking the truth, even when this entailed suffering the consequences of his beliefs.
I remember when his Jordanian passport was suspended because he was critical of the Jordanian government, speaking boldly about their corruption.
Or the numerous times when the Palestinian Authority detained him because of his insistence on exposing their corruption as well.
He was threatened with death by the Israeli occupation forces, and he was also banned from traveling many times.
What truly mattered to him was only the Palestinian people, their rights, and their righteous struggle.
Throughout his life, my father developed a strong bond to our land. Although he had several opportunities to leave the occupied West Bank, and secure an American residency, he chose to remain in our village, Dura, until his last breath.
My father’s passing has undoubtedly left a void in my life, but it has also fueled my determination to carry forward his legacy. I am now compelled to continue the work he started as social and political activist, to amplify marginalized voices, and to advocate for justice and equality.
As his assistant, I was responsible for submitting his essays and articles. Now, as I step into the world without him, yet armed with the lessons he taught me, I am driven by the belief that journalism can be a force for positive change and a catalyst for creating a more just and inclusive society.
To me, my father was not just a journalist, but a mentor and role model. He instilled in me the importance of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the power of words. He taught me to question the dominant narratives, seek different perspectives, and always strive for the truth.
He also taught me how to respond to Israeli propaganda and refute their false claims.
Denied the Last Goodbye
The last thing my father said before he passed away was, “I love my daughter, Azhar, the most”.
Our relationship was unique. I used to fully take care of him, as he was diabetic. I gave him an Insulin injection after each meal, along with other medications. When he got sick during the Covid-19 pandemic, I spent four nights with him.
It was not a tiring chore for me. My father had a joyful spirit, and I loved to hang out with him. My father was my best friend; spending time with him was precious.
What hurts me the most is the fact that the Israeli occupation authorities prevented me from attending my father’s funeral.
A few months ago, my husband and I decided to settle down in Gaza. When I asked permission to leave the besieged Strip and attend my father’s funeral, the Israeli authorities, without empathy, denied it.
They offered me to travel only if I gave up my West Bank identity and agreed to stay in Gaza forever.
What Israel cannot do, however, is cancel my father’s powerful legacy.
My father’s belief in the fundamental importance of a free press shaped my own aspirations and values. Through remembering his life, his work, and his unwavering dedication to truth, his spirit lives on.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, my father’s true legacy lies in the impact he had on the lives of his coworkers, neighbors, students and family.
His legacy as a journalist and compassionate human being will continue to inspire, not only me, but countless others who strive to make a difference in the world.
I am proud to carry my father’s torch, to tell the stories that need to be heard, and to honor his memory by dedicating my life to the pursuit of justice and equality.
– Azhaar Amayreh is a Palestinian, Gaza-based freelancer who hails from Hebron in the West Bank. She graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza in 2019 with a BA degree in English language. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.