In Memoriam: Atef Sa’d

Atef Saadimage source:

Those of you who participated in the field trip to Nablus and Wadi Qana on Tuesday 28 July may remember Atef Sa’d as one of your guides. We are sad to report that Atef suffered a heart attack and passed away on Thursday 30 July 2015.

Atef was born in Nablus in 1952. When he was 16 years old he was arrested by the Israeli Army and imprisoned for 10 years. Atef spent those years in reading and listening, subtly nurturing his passion for literature and rapidly learning about the politics and workings of struggles for liberation. After his release in 1978 he continued his education and earned a degree in journalism from alNajjah University, where he was also an activist and a member of the Students Council representing the Palestinian Communist Party (early 1980s). Atef worked as reporter and editor with several local and international news agencies such as alTali’a alMaqdisiya Newspaper and Reuters, and as Chief Editor of “Sawt alAmel” (Worker’s Voice), which is released by the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and focuses on abuses of Palestinian labourers. He was also member of Board of Directors of the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre, one of the local institutions supporting ICCG 2015.

Atef is survived by his wife the activist Nadia Sa’d and three children – Lina, Jamal and Husam. He will be remembered as a man of intelligent humour and warm charisma, but mostly, as a believer in the ability of the masses to create change – the compass that oriented many of his civic involvements over the years, which is also reflected in the long trail he leaves as engaged unionist. With his passing, activists, critics, and journalists mourn the loss of a passionate comrade, and Palestine a fierce advocate.

We at the ICCG 2015 are grateful for having had the opportunity to get a glimpse of this eloquent debater and equally saddened by the thought of the moments that could have been, the lost narrations that he took with him, and the fact that we have not properly thanked him for the time he dedicated for us. We will remember Atef Sa’d with these words of imagination and adventure that he wrote in a short article about the dangers and limitations of being a journalist in Palestine. He wrote:

To be a journalist in Palestine means to walk under the rain without wetting your shirt! Is that possible? Could be yes or no. Either way, it is a challenge that should be tested.

Atef Sa’d, 2 May 2015

[1] “To be a Journalist in Palestine…!”, Wattan News Network (click here)

Please post your condolences below, and if you have any pictures with Atef Sa’d on them, please send those to . We will compile these and have them delivered to his family.


ICCG 2015 Organization Team member Muna Dajani who participated in the field trip with Atef remembers him with:

Along the route to and in the narrow alleyways of the old city of Nablus I had the luck to meet an intellectual, journalist and a community activist whose love for Nablus is ever remaining. I will not forget his enthusiasm about such an event as the ICCG 2015 taking place in Palestine. He was so proud that it was enabled by a group of young Palestinian scholars, bringing critical activist-scholars from around the world to what he calls the „craddle of contestations“ [1]. “This conference gives me hope that you will start a revolution of the mind, of the intellect and of knowledge production”. I’m very privileged to have met a man of such intellectual depth, accomplishments and undeniable love for Palestine and freedom. May your soul rest in peace, and may your family and loved ones find solace in the legacy you leave behind.

ICCG 2015 participant CJ Chanco remembers Atef with:

“It is that odd mix of humour and wisdom narrating a history so tragic that made our tour so memorable. I will never forget him talking about his experiences as a reporter during the First Intifada, and I will always remember his words about how, for Palestinians, time doesn’t matter.”

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