“My feeling was indescribable when I was informed of my husband’s martyrdom. When he left the last time, he told me to look after myself and after our son and he told me he will be martyred. He felt it will happen and he hoped for it. (My husband), the martyr was ethical and kind. He had memorized the Quran. I hope our son will be like his father in the future, a hero who defends his generous country.”
These are the words of the wife of Zakaria al-Zaabi, the United Arab Emirates’ martyr, who was killed few days ago in the line of duty. Her words are full of honesty. She is a wife who just lost her beloved and partner but she spoke of him as a hero who fought in battlefields.
He is a proud national icon. He has taught a lesson to this generation – a lesson that there are heroes defending the stability, which their country enjoys. These are the heroes who sacrifice themselves so you can enjoy stability at home and among your family and so you can sleep safe and sound, fearful of no one else but God.
The coalition’s heroes have fought major battles and achieved great victories. These wars, irrespective of their results, have awakened a general sense of patriotismTurki Aldakhil
War for peace
Wars are fought to create and establish different realities on the ground. No one in the world loves or prefers wars. However, wars are eventually the “last medicine” we would have to resort to. The war is the basis of peace. No peace in the world has been achieved without war. The two World Wars led to the creation of the League of Nations, the United Nations and the UN Security Council and established for a new world order.
The French have a famous proverb that says “war is war,” meaning war definitely includes pain and we lose heroic soldiers during it but war is part of history. It is through war that some models come to an end and new ones replace them.
The coalition’s heroes have fought major battles and achieved great victories. These wars, irrespective of their results, have awakened a general sense of patriotism and ended imaginary boundaries among the sons of the one country. There were no more differences based on class or regions among one citizen and another.
This is thanks to the concept of “martyrdom” which makes us feel ashamed at a time when these heroes bravely fight on battlefronts. These heroes worry while we rest reassured, they die so we live and suffer so we can be comfortable. This is the concept of “martyrdom” which has truly awakened the sense of citizenship and the feeling of belonging and pride in the nation. This is why the Martyr’s Day signifies power, loyalty and harmony.
Sacrifice and valor
On his soldiers’ sacrifices and valor Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, said: “The sacrifices of Emirati soldiers and martyrs will remain engraved in our memories as slogans of pride and resistance. They are honorable models in generosity and a beacon that lights the path of the future which carries prosperity to our country. Their sacrifices will continue to teach deep morals that inspire the upcoming generations and teach them the meaning of sacrifice, loyalty and belonging to their homeland and the importance of protecting their country’s security and stability and people’s dignity.”
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had ordered observing Martyr’s Day on November 30 of every year. This day marks the date when the first Emirati soldier, Salem Suhail bin Khamis, was martyred on November 30, 1971 during the battle of the Greater Tunb.
On that day, the horrific sound of Iranian military jets could be heard amid the night’s complete darkness in the island of Tunb. The horrific sound increased after Iranian warships equipped with the most modern arms arrived on the shores. Khamis stood by the flagpole and refused to lower the flag. They opened fire at him killing him while the five others who were with him surrendered. This is how the story was narrated in this daily.
The eulogy by Zaabi’s wife is an eloquent reflection of the extent of patriotism and sense of responsibility in Gulf societies, which are together in this fight against terrorism and violence. Her eulogy deeply expresses love for one’s homeland, even if a dear person sacrifices himself for its sake.
There are examples of this kind from other countries, particularly Europe. There are examples of wars uniting societies and contributing to harmony and cooperation to look after the country’s needs and interests. This is the effect of the concept of “martyrdom.”
This article was first published in Al-Bayan on March 22, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.