On February 3, at around half past eight p.m. Beirut time, the professional killers sent to execute Lokman Slim, my brother, accomplished their mission in Niha, which is part of the area in southern Lebanon where the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) operates under resolution 1701.
The well-trained hired gunmen drove for around 22 miles to confuse the investigators and left Lokman’s body riddled with six bullets on a country road in Addousieh.
My brother’s assassination was reported around the world and generated a wave of anger and sorrow; the talented writer, analyst, researcher, and friend was greatly loved. Anyone who dealt with him knew how precious he was. Magnanimous Lokman did not deserve these cowardly and heinous six bullets in the brain and heart. He deserved to be an accomplished leader who would join with the educated and talented dreamers to architect a respectable, peaceful, and prosperous Middle East.
As soon as “they” heard the “good” news, the instigators rejoiced, although they probably never understood who their well-read, sophisticated “enemy” was. One tweet hastily written in clumsy Arabic by Jawad Nasrallah, son of Hassan, said, “The loss of some is in fact profit and unfortunate kindness,” followed by the hashtag “No Regret.”
Although the tweet was deleted, its author remains immune and protected by the armed “victorious” party he is a member of – Hezbollah – which has its own deputies in the Lebanese parliament, ministers in the government, and an appetite to continue destroying and intimidating anyone who dares say “no” to the nefarious ambitions of their backers: the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Hezbollah celebrates my brother’s death
The shrewd armed group that hijacked the country is celebrating the death of my brother. They continue to make haste in stifling the pursuit of justice related to the Beirut Port hecatomb as they torpedo any sort of judicial progress capable of holding the guilty parties accountable. Nonetheless, it is an open secret who bears the responsibility. It is clear that the nitrate imports Hezbollah facilitate is used by their allies in Syria. Their firm opposition to prosecuting the only Rafik Hariri killer designated by the international court offers a sharp example of their distaste for judicial proceedings.
A long-lasting tradition of hypocrisy and lies helps the Lebanese branch of the ruling Iranian party hide behind the shambles of an agonizing state that is bleeding and begging for the last blow. But no coup de grace is in sight. Humiliation, looting, and death – these are what the ruling lords have in store. If they ever hear words like accountability, state of law, or human rights, they smile ironically! Armed and powerful dictators do not bother with these kinds of “absurdities!” Off with the head of whoever resists their mighty will.
“Let the investigators do their work, let the judges judge, and do not accuse us without evidence,” they would say. However, no such evidence ever does come forward. The killers simply continue “playing around” as they bask in their imperviousness to justice.
Alas, the Lebanese judiciary is one of the “masks” and alibies they more recently discovered. They play on this string with mastery and are adept in the art of juggling contradictions and conspiracies, although they took violent stands against the Hariri tribunal. The tormented state they now fully control can interrogate neither the hired killers nor the instigators of the February 3 murder.
Criminals generate fear, terror, and power. Criminals in our part of the world govern tirelessly. They give discourse for hours and meet with elected presidents or ministers. But criminals are no judges even though they are convinced that they are above the law.
“Killers kill, looters loot, and those who stay silent will stay silent,” wrote Lokman in his elegant Arabic.
Although the world is observing Lebanon’s agony, it is also absorbed with its own medical, economic, and social problems generated by the pandemic. The world will not come to rescue a lawless country enveloped in a murky fog. Now that the whole region is burning, saving parts of the small country may not be possible; finding the instigators of Lokman’s murder may need a long-term political, judicial, and ethical effort.
No accountability in sight for Lokman Slim
Despite where he is now, my hero would have liked to lead our paths to a more just Middle East. Therefore, we would like to imagine a transparent, respected court that would not only punish the assassins – minors in the hierarchy – but the whole system that is mining and ruining millions of lives in this tortured MENA region.
These courts have existed in history – at Nuremberg, Rwanda, Srebrenica – and should exist again. The “joyous” killers should bend under the weight of their crime and not laugh or ridicule common sense accountability.
Lokman would have liked to see the ruling armed party and its docile valets lose their leverage and join the simplest realities of a normal country, with a state of peace and law, justice, memory at work, good books, electricity, clean water, fast internet, public transportation, communal gardens, modernity, and delicious food and drinks.
When Nazism was defeated and hope was no longer a mirage, the world hammered for years the slogan of “never again.” But yet, every day the world forgets its promises and accepts the unacceptable: Mass murder, exoduses of biblical proportions, and crippling despair.
Genocides, murders, and displacements are happening on a daily basis under our eyes. The instigators of this colossal tragedy can’t be interlocutors of elected politicians who believe in law and accountability.
Lokman, son of Selma Mirshak and Mohsen Slim, husband of Monika Borgmann, brother of Hadi, friend of hundreds of decent people all around the world, was executed in a horrendous way five weeks ago. No accountability is in sight. But we the minoritarian Justs, who believe that politics is compatible with ethics, listen to his deafening murmur: “Arms for arms, although it is not the strength it is the spirit.” Your spirit and strength will be our shining stars in our times of darkness.