To Fatima, who lost her brother in Syria
There is a huge pool of blood in Syria, regardless of whether those who died are regime opponents or supporters
How can one give condolences to a colleague in their time of tragedy when the person they’re mourning was from among the opposing camp? All death camps in Syria are similar: overflowing with blood, grief and lies. Colleague Fatima Abdullah, who works in Al-Nahar newspaper, recently mourned the death of her brother who was killed while fighting alongside Hezbollah in Syria. To her, we say: “they are all like your brother. They all died for no reason. They just died.”
We don’t have anything to say to those who die there - in Syria, where people of the one country fight. They are all corpses. Syria’s war overflows with selfishness and the struggle for personal glory. Fatima’s brother is like dozens, or rather hundreds of thousands, of men, women and children who died in vain.
Call them whatever you want; call them heroes, call them martyrs. They are all victims.
What Fatima wrote touched us all. It’s the story of many people these days; a story where death is presented as a gift to the people and where the deceased is celebrated.
Despite such a serene eulogy, she was fiercely criticized. Why this violence against a sister mourning her brother?Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Writing about her brother and mother, Fatima wrote: “We are only crying, while she’s withering away. I [won’t talk] on how to ease the pain of the ‘martyr’s mother’ and on how to teach her ‘patience.’ I will leave this to everyone [else] and talk to you about her without holding you guilty for her pain.”
We don’t want to falsely blame anyone either and we don’t want to decorate anyone’s chest with medals. There is a huge pool of blood in Syria, regardless of whether those who died are regime opponents or supporters. This is an unjust war that could have been finalized without extended conflict or grief. Hundreds of thousands of people could have lived with their mothers and among their brothers and sisters.
Why did Fatima’s eulogy pain most of us at a time when we thought we had been desensitized to the suffering after three years of continuous footage of dead, injured and grieving people? It’s because she didn’t write for the sake of achieving political gains or for the sake of sentimentally touching us. She expressed herself as a sister who lost a brother, who didn’t adopt his stance and who didn’t hold the bullet which took his soul accountable. She also did not grant him martyrdom and she did not justify his actions or the actions of he who sent him to die in Syria. This honest eulogy came amidst massive destruction and her brother was among a long list of dead people. It was uttered in painful and direct impartiality. Despite such a serene eulogy, she was fiercely criticized. Why this violence against a sister mourning her brother? It’s because her frank tears exposed the truth about those who send men to their deaths.
I conclude with Fatima’s statement: “I kiss your broken face and your feet which chose their path. I kiss your soul that pains my soul and your shoes, which left us, and all your photos.”
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on March 9, 2014.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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