Protester who set himself on fire dies
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Saturday 21 July 2012
Moshe Silman, who made headlines across the world by setting himself on fire during a social justice protest in Tel Aviv last weekend, died yesterday. He had suffered second and third degree burns on 94 per cent of his body.
Mr Silman, 57, who had been an active participant in the social and economic protests which started last summer, was in penury and facing homelessness after a chain of events which started when the messenger service he owned ran into trouble a decade ago because of the second intifada.
The National Insurance Institute seized one of his trucks and his fortunes plunged after that.
Mr Silman poured petrol over himself then set himself alight amid around 8,000 demonstrators commemorating the start of the protests last summer.
Mr Silman's self-immolation prompted a wave of criticism at what activists and others condemned as an unfeeling bureaucracy which had failed to provide him with the support to get back on his feet economically again.
The fellow activists he met at the protest tent in Haifa, where he lived, became his friends. Yossi Baruch, an activist in Haifa, told the liberal daily Haaretz: "He was a man of action. He said you have to be political and get elected anywhere possible."
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