The Concept of Martyrdom in the Levant

By Dr. Ali al-Shoeibi

The Syrians have a very special concept about martyrdom, they do observe since time immemorial. What is it?

On May 6, 1916,  martyrRafikRizkSalloum wrote in his will this piece of advice: “Mind the sad and the sadness. Never  never yield to either of them. Be sure that my spirit is hovering above you  all the time. I see each and every one of your movements. I see you, though you do not see me.

But if you yield to sorrowfulness, I would run away. Do not you change you clothes or any of your daily activities (meaning that do not dress in black or mourn my death).

RafikRozkSalloum was one of the seven martyrs executed in Damascus by the then Turkish ruler, nicknamed butcher, Jamal Pasha, at the order whom some 14 more martyrs were executed in Beirut on the same day. Earlier on August 21, 1915, Jamal Pasha the Butcher executed 11 martyrs in Beirut, besides  many other Syrian personalities who have been either executed or  assassinated.

Every year, we, the Syrians, commemorate the Martyrs  Day to remember these outstandingly brave personalities who have been killed by the Ottomans. With them, we also remember the martyrs who offered their souls while fighting for independence from the French colonialists. After the Independence, the fight continued against neo colonialists and their stooges.

Droves upon droves of freedom fighters and  martyrs fought for the dignity of the homeland and shone light upon all corners of the homeland so we can see the  right path in this  multi-lanes process.

Thanks to these martyrs and their bravery that many young men now willingly volunteered to  join the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army willing to sacrifice own souls to defend Syria and her territorial integrity.

Seventy years now into the independence, we still find the same motivation getting ever stronger and more relevant. These motivations can be briefly summed up by the common  willingness to defend the homeland, the honor and/or  the property.

This is precisely what Prophet Mohammad had specifically identified when he said: “The one who is killed while defending own land is a martyr, the one who is killed while defending own honor is a martyr, and the one who is killed while defending own property is a martyr. This is the definition of dignity as perceived by the Syrians.

Now. How many martyrs have offered their souls and lives to defend Syria and to uphold her stature as a free, dignified and proud nation. Our leadership  has never sold out nor would it ever sell out an inch of the Syrian territories.

This standpoint has been made public time and again. Syria has indeed managed to liberate vast areas and would surely succeed in liberating each and every inch still held by the colonial invaders or their proxy stooges.

We would like our leadership to honor the martyrs by  displaying their names and photos in each and every town, city, locality and farm.

These names and photos would be beacons of light for the generations and this would be the most living school  from which Syrians, young or old, would learn the true meaning of martyrdom for the sake of the homeland.

Commemorating them on their Day, we pray to the Almighty God to  have our martyrs in His mercy.  May  their souls rest in peace.

And may we be good enough successors of our outstanding predecessors. Best wishes to the homeland from the banks of the Barada of the Euphrates.

Translated from Arabic by Syrianfacts




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