Martyr vs Victim
I cringe every time I hear the word. It’s overuse and application to virtually anyone that dies of unnatural causes in Lebanon, is infuriating sometimes.
You might think that means I believe the people killed aren’t worthy of such a powerful title. But no, you are quite mistaken. The people being killed didn’t want to be killed. They didn’t expect to die blown up into charred pieces of human remains. They didn’t knowingly stick to their ideals knowing the consequences it might entail. They were victims. They were people shopping, people driving, people going home, people having a cigarette break, people going to pray, people going to study. They were going about their normal every day lives, which was interrupted by many kilograms of explosives coupled with ball bearings and nails to make sure as many people as possible were killed or injured.
That is in no way a universal definition of what a martyr is. Even if these circumstances and others like drowning or plague apply as martyrdom in certain religions, it certainly isn’t for everyone. For me, personally, it is someone who dies fighting for or defending a cause, knowingly and aware that it might lead to his/her harm or even death. That is the definition of a martyr, someone who is willing to sacrifice him or herself for whatever they think is a cause higher than themselves.
These people were victims, not martyrs. A victim should incite a severe reaction to get to the bottom of the terrorist attacks and punish those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. A martyr only makes people more docile. It makes them come to terms with the tragedy, it makes them complacent, glad that their loved one is “honored in a better place” instead of demanding to know what really happened, punish those responsible, and make sure that it never happens again.
A little boy killed by a pedophile would infuriate society, and citizens would exert pressure on the government to step up and solve this. If a little boy is reduced to charred pieces because of a bomb, but is called a “shaheed” (martyr), everyone cries bitter sweet tears and it flies out of our collective consciousness in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
If I personally got killed in such an attack, I would be insulted if anyone calls me “shaheed” or “shaheed el watan” or “shaheed el ghadr” or other familiar titles. Why? Because I don’t want to die for any cause. I did not choose to put myself in that danger knowingly in support of some higher purpose. To include me in that, as its martyr, is completely unacceptable. I don’t want people to be “happy” for me because I’m a “martyr” and go party the same night, I want them to demand whoever did that to me pays the price in court and make sure the governmental agencies are kept in check as they do that.
In other words, the word martyr has become a phenomenon to allay the rage of religious people in Lebanon. It is a method for responsible parties to throw that weight off their shoulders, and instead of actually doing something about it, sufice with calling it a martyrdom and going on about their lives as if nothing happened, as if an innocent civilian’s life wasn’t brutally stolen, as if it’s ok if someone is killed as long as we call them shaheed.
The Israel Broken Record
Whenever a heinous crime occurs, it’s like politicians consider it the start of a race to see who can get on TV first and blame Israel. It’s such a familiar, useless, impotent, automated response, that it has become disgusting and pathetic. None of us are fans of Israel. Israel’s crimes against Lebanon and the Lebanese are horrific and no person with a right mind would justify any of it.
However, if whenever whatever happens our politicians go on TV seconds later and start with their fantastical conspiracy theories that all lead to Israel, that shows how pathetic we’ve become, how helpless we feel and how easy blaming Israel is for someone that doesn’t want to do the job we pay them for.
An explosion happened? Why bother working hard and finding the culprits? Just blame Israel, and given that it is a nuclear power with the most potent military in the region and unconditional US support, we can’t do anything about it, so forget it. Let’s just call them martyrs of Israeli aggression and move on. Disgusting.
Sure, it might be Israel. Prove it. Work on proving it, and find the accessories used to carry it out, and punish them. Don’t just release empty statements similar to “that’s the work of the Illuminati” or “it’s those damn masons controlling the world” or other silly gibberish that gives naive, lazy people an excuse to not act.
Investigate, do your jobs. It works sometimes in Lebanon, Michel Samaha’s foiled plot being one of them. Don’t blame Israel, don’t blame not having access to all the telecom data of all Lebanese people forever, don’t blame the Assad regime. Or, if you do, get proof. Blaming entities you can’t get to is so easy, removes the burden of action. It’s also a symptom of the sickening romanticism Arabs have for being the victim: it has become way too comfortable and made us way too complacent.
Stop your fantastical Hollywood-style conspiracy theories. Get hard evidence, remove any reasonable doubt and convict those responsible. Don’t always blame almost-fictitious supervillains and slap the word martyr on the victims and move on. 3eb, walla 3eb.