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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Palestinian activists plant trees in memory of Virginia Tech

There are no words to express the feeling I felt when reading this post from Haitham Sabbah.
There is so much sorrow in this world, places where you know it is, and places you don't expect it. Last Monday tragedy hit Virginia Tech. We all know what happened and our hearts stopped. But across the world, Palestinians took time to honor the victims by olive trees, a sign of peace. Again, I have no words to express this feeling, there is only solidarity in humanity, and when one suffers, we ALL suffer

Palestinian activists plant 32 Olive trees south of Bethlehem, in memory of the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre:

Every Friday, Palestinians, internationals, and Israeli nonviolent activists gather in the Southern villages of Bethlehem to protest against the building of the Apartheid Wall that will eventually destroy the livelihood of these villages. This Friday, the protest began with a silent procession by the group of about fifty participants. We carried banners and leaflets with the Virginia Tech logo and statements supporting them in this time of pain. Thirty two olive trees were also carried in the procession to remember each person killed in the massacre. The olive tree is a global symbol of peace and hope.

From Palestine to V tech

Once we reached the path created by the by the bulldozers for the building of the Apartheid Wall we dug the earth and plated the thirty two olive trees in a row - instead of building an ugly wall that divides people, let us plant trees that bring people together. Several of the participants made statements condemning the violence that we all, as the human family are witnessing and condemning the building of the Apartheid wall and the killing of innocents. Over 150 Israeli soldiers came to dismantle our protest. Our commitment to nonviolence and to achieve our goal completely paralyzed their weapons and their goals and eventually our power made them withdrawal. The planting of the trees was followed by reciting the names of all those who were killed in the Virginian massacre followed by a fifteen minute period of silence before the group moved back to the villages. [Source: ISM]


Waleed Shalan, from Egypt, was among those killed. His body has been flown back to Egypt. How much time has our media paid to the individual victims? Waleed it seems from this account was also a hero last Monday. Have you heard of him?

Waleed Shaalan

The Victims

Learn about the individuals who were killed in the shootings at Virginia Tech, and share your memories of the victims.

Times Topics: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Waleed Shaalan, a 32-year-old graduate student, came to the United States from northern Egypt last year to study engineering. He lived among other Egyptian students in Blacksburg, Va., and was planning on bringing his wife and one-and-a-half-year-old son to America in May to live with him.

He was gunned down on Monday while he was studying in Norris Hall, but witnesses say he died a hero.

According to Randy Dymond, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Mr. Shaalan was in a classroom with another student when the gunman entered and opened fire.

Mr. Shaalan was badly wounded and lay beside the other student, who was not shot but played dead, as the gunman returned two times searching for signs of life. Just as the gunman noticed the student, Mr. Shaalan made a move to distract him, at which point he was shot a second time and died. The student believed that Mr. Shaalan purposefully distracted the shooter to save him, Mr. Dymond said.

"Waleed was bright, energetic and caring," Mr. Dymond said. "The reason we are in higher education is because there are students who are the bright light to the future. Waleed was one of them."

Equally social and studious, Mr. Shaalan was active in the Muslim Student Association at Virginia Tech, and he especially enjoyed participating in the group's community activities.

The Egyptian Consul has notified Mr.Shalaan's wife and parents, all of who live in Egypt. Mr. Shaalan's body will be flown back to his country in the near future, the vice consul, Mohamed Elghazawy, said.

"This is a very emotional time for his entire family, but especially his mother and father," Mr. Elghazawy said.

UPDATED REQUEST FROM MUSLIMSMATTER.ORG (Shukran for contacting me and I am very happy to update for you. All the updates for Waleed and other links are posted there so please link to them and sign the condolences) My prayers for Waleed and his family and friends who are suffering so much from this, may Allah lift him up on eagle's wings and hold him gently in the palm of his hand and watch over all those who loved and knew him.

Inshallah, we plan to print out all the tributes/comments posted for Br. Waleed and package them nicely to send to his family, as a small memorial.

Please continue post your comments/duas/thoughts on the tribute entry: Linked here or see below. The cut-off date will be April 30 (Monday) by 5PM, at which point we will print all comments out that have been posted (you can continue to comment past that, but it may not go into the print-out what is to be delivered to the family).

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