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A Palestinian in Texas
On April 14, 2008, Riad Elsolh Hamad, 55, left his family's apartment in Austin, Texas, to get some prescription drugs. The immigrant from Lebanon and middle school computer teacher never returned home. Three days later, the police found his body, bound with tape, floating in nearby Lady Bird Lake, and concluded that "all signs indicate this may have been a suicide."
His family expressed that he had been under stress lately and even suicidal. And with good reason: The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service had searched his house on February 27, 2008, when the FBI declared him a "person of interest" in a criminal investigation.
Despite this cloud around the dead man, local news outlets reported nothing but kind words and high praise for him. After Hamad's family issued a statement describing Riad as a "peace activist who worked tirelessly on behalf of those less fortunate than him and was loved and admired by many members of the local, as well as international…community." The press duly picked up on this moniker and regularly called him a "peace activist."
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