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Opinion: On One Day in Syria

Kill the wounded without rejoicing or expressing joy, says the higher-ranking “Hajj”
Opinion: On One Day in Syria

By: Husam Itani


It is disturbing to watch the video showing armed men, claimed to be Hezbollah fighters, killing wounded Syrians. Even more disturbing are attempts to explain those scenes and link them to the context of events in Lebanon and Syria.


What is much more disturbing still is the feeling of powerlessness to prosecute or hold to account those responsible for such atrocities, which are being committed on a daily basis in full view of the Lebanese, who approve of or at least do not care about what some of them are doing.


In less than two minutes, the video posted by the New Lebanon news website exposes the history of lies and misleading that have deceived our countries and allowed for real mafias to come to power, rule in the name of fictions, and destroy entire societies. The video, which seems genuine (unfortunately), proclaims the profound significance of certain slogans, for whose falseness Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Arabs in general have been paying the price. “Resistance”, “defiance”, “steadfastness”, and “the most honorable people” are summed up in a minute and forty seconds, in which armed men unload powerless wounded men from a truck and shoot them dead, while spewing insults. The tragedy reaches its climax with the emergence of the wise voice of the “Hajj”, who explains to his excited fighters that they should keep calm because they are “fulfilling their religious duty, not taking revenge for themselves”.


Kill the wounded without rejoicing or expressing joy, says the higher-ranking “Hajj”. Your religious duty allows it. The problem resides in mixing up personal feelings with Jihadist duties.


This happened on one day not long ago in Syria.


What we are facing here is something similar to the systematic mechanical killing that had been generalized by the criminal machinery of totalitarian regimes. Stalin’s Gulag and Hitler’s concentration camps did not consume their victims because of personal hatred, but rather on the basis of ideological and political necessities. Heated class warfare in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and saving the Aryan race from impurity in Nazi Germany made imperative the killing of millions of people without any feelings of rancor. Thus Hezbollah’s young fighters continue to kill, with “no hard feelings”, as the English expression goes. But work is work, and religious duty is religious duty. And the “Hajj” does not forget to add that what his brethren are doing is being done “for God’s sake”. Of course it is.


Most local Lebanese media outlets ignored the video, perhaps for being much more real than necessary. Or perhaps it is because it shows us our own image as it is after twenty-three years of trying to evade the memory of the Civil War and its legacy: a group of murderers, rejoicing to see their prey fall, helpless to defend itself – groups that thirst from the blood of others and practice killing with pleasure and expertise.


The video ignored by media outlets raised a storm on social media websites. Yet it was a storm that fell within the frameworks of prevalent alignments. There were those who placed it under sectarian hatred and submission to Iran’s dictates. And then there were those who responded that killing the wounded, which apparently took place after the battle of Qusayr in Syria a few months ago, is not worse than executing prisoners, as the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and similar groups have done with Alawite soldiers in Aleppo and Raqqa, in addition to the atrocities committed by other armed opposition fighters.


We could discuss to no end how genuine such a parallel is or not. But the issue resides in the significance of all the unwillingly diverse political entities in the Arab Levant, which have nearly reached the point of exploding. It also resides in the significance of seeking to get rid of an insipid dictatorship like the one established by the Assad family in Syria, and the nightmares to which such efforts are giving rise among minorities, while the largest sectarian community is unable to forge alliances and draft programs that would ensure its transition from a numerical majority to a political one.


Let us then stop exploiting Palestine, the Resistance, and the “bleeding wound in the body of the Arab nation”, and admit to the fact that most of this had consisted of metaphors for deep-seated conflicts that find only sectarian expressions in order to emerge. Then, each group finds no shortage of the kinds of religious duties and fatwas needed to kill the wounded, execute prisoners, slaughter children and support those who would poison them with sarin gas.


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