In everyday rush, in the moment when most of my attention was devoted to the Arab revolutions and the possibilities of overthrowing dictatorial regimes, a very important piece of news escaped my notice, news not only important but also sad.
I’m not angry at myself, I’m furious! For a couple of days I didn’t read Polish press, I didn’t surf the Internet as much as I usually do. For three days I was busy with more important things and everyday nonsense. Only yesterday I unexpectedly became acquainted with this sad information. Małgorzata Gebert left us forever, a noble person with a big heart full of love, compassion and joy. When I write ‘Małgorzata’ I feel so strange! I’ve never called Her like that. She was always just Małgosia, a modest, smiling, warm woman.

Yesterday, when I was reading memoirs of Małgosia it hurt me that almost everyone was writing about a social activist, humanitarian organisation activist, a bit about political activity of Mrs Gebert, but no one wrote about ordinary Małgosia, the one I had a luck to know personally.

I met Małgosia through her husband, my close friend and opponent, a journalist Konstanty Gebert vel Dawid Warszawski. When he first invited me to his house, I had no clue how his family was going to react. After all, I’m of Palestinian descent and I don’t hide my political involvement in PLO though I come from a Jewish home. But what a nice surprise!

Smiling Małgosia greeted me very heartily, she was spreading the kindness and warmth around us. She was talking about some piece of furniture that we were sitting around while drinking delicious coffee from coffeemaker. A few weeks before, around the very same kitchen table, a very important political debate took place between the then ambassadors of Palestine and Israel to Poland Hafez Al-Nimer and Szewach Weiss. When she was telling me this story, through her words I felt her desires: for the peace between the nations in this region and for the Holy Land to keep the peace. Małgosia didn’t use those great political and newspaper slogans. She used simple words not because I’m a foreigner who might not understand but because she was a humble person who cared for the life of ordinary people living in this region.

This care was always visible in various aspects of her life. She was interested not only in people from the Near East. Not once did she tell about misfortunes that met other nations. Injustice in the world really hurt her. That’s why she wanted to help. She knew a lot about the tragedy of the Jews in Europe before the World War II and she didn’t want a similar fate to meet anyone.

It's a shame that Małgosia didn’t live to see the triumph of her lifetime accomplishments but she has left a blossoming tree of hopes: lots of her projects, actions, activities, people who live and function thanks to them; they all proof that we will remember her and miss her.

A couple of weeks ago I phoned Kostek and having not found him, I talked to Małgosia. I asked her how she was. Her voice and the will to live didn’t reveal that it would be our last conversation. I promised to call once again and make an appointment with Kostek so that we would all get together and drink coffee as usual. I regret that daily duties made this meeting impossible. Fate often plays a trick on us.

Małgosia, we will miss you so much. We will miss you greatly every time we see a person in need as well as the children of war victims whom you helped, who enjoy their life and have a happy childhood. Małgosia, coffee without you will never taste the same. Goodbye to a noble person that fate bestowed upon us and quickly deprived us of. We honour your memory.

Maged Sahly

Translated by Iwona Białek