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The Importance and Significance of Martyr’s Day
The tiny country of Lebanon, equivalent in size to that of the State of Connecticut, has struggled immensely in the wake of numerous wars and aggressions imposed by Israel.
As a result, every year, on November 11, the Lebanese commemorate and celebrate a day dedicated to those individuals who sacrificed all to protect and ensure the prosperity of their nation. Such a day has become known as Hezbollah’s Martyr’s Day and this day honors the courageous who led Hezbollah towards their victories against fierce Israeli wars and aggressions.
One of the most famous men, whom Hezbollah’s Martyr’s Day was founded and observed after, was that of the young Ahmad Kassir, a Hezbollah military operative who began the concept of martyrdom operations. It was on November 11, 1982, that Kassir drove his vehicle packed with explosives towards an Israeli military station located in the southern port city of Tyr, Lebanon. Within the proximity of his target, Kassir detonated his vehicle, sacrificing himself in an operation that resulted in the deaths of 74 members of the Israeli military.
As a result of Kassir’s military operation, Menachem Begin’s government called for a three day mourning period, thus, the affects of war reverberated throughout Israeli society and had pierced through the Israeli military.
It was in the years to follow that Lebanese men continued to succumb to a supreme raison d'être to pursue the path of resistance, committing themselves to martyrdom operations. One of the main reasons for adopting this method of warfare was so the resistance could compensate for their lack of advanced military technology during a time when Israel was one of the most powerful military armies in the world.
With this new type of warfare utilized to expel the Israeli occupation, the resistance managed to wound and incite fear and confusion into the Israelis who were at the time, occupying major parts of Lebanon; such tactics also allowed the resistance to limit the death ratio of their own while increasing the amount of Israeli casualties.
Aside from martyrdom operations, the resistance also planned and executed a guerilla warfare style of fighting that forced the Israelis to reconsider their strategic tactics within the established Security zone.
With the spring of the resistance growing and gaining momentum, within the first decade of Hezbollah’s inception, Israel managed to murder a vocal and influential resistance leader and Muslim cleric named Sheikh Ragheb Harb in Feb. 1984. Sheikh Ragheb Harb’s murder was followed by the targeted assassination of the first Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyid Abbas al-Mousawi in Feb. 1992. With Israel’s successes in eliminating Hezbollah’s leadership, the Israelis believed that this would dramatically hinder the resistance and immobilize their efforts against the occupation.
In fact, the Israelis were incorrect.
Despite the schemes and foils by Israel and their allies to eliminate Hezbollah’s resistance, the resistance continued to struggle and fight for liberation under the leadership of Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, the successor to Sayyid Abbas al-Mousawi. With fervor, courage, and sacrifice the resistance prospered eventually morphing into an immensely powerful and a united military front to protect the Lebanese from foreign armies, as well as foreign intervention.
In a speech made on February 16, 2010, commemorating the anniversaries of Hezbollah’s martyred leaders, Hezbollah Secretary-General, Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, venerated the martyrs who dedicated their lives towards the resistance in protecting Lebanon. Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah stated the following:
“We are loyal to the path of our leaders and we tell our martyrs that they can rest assure that their path will always be open and the cause they sacrificed their lives for will be fulfilled. We are your sons and your brothers and we will fulfill your dreams God willing.”1
Such loyalty and open paths have lead to Hezbollah’s victories which can clearly be seen through the early six-week Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon on May 25, 2000 or Israel’s defeat during the July/August 2006 war.
In other words, what does victory mean to the Lebanese?
Victory means. . .PEACE and JUSTICE. . . NO WAR.
No more American made bombs being dropped over Lebanon
No more threats of Israel occupying the mountains and valleys
No more stealing of Lebanon’s resources such as water and land
The list can go on and on.
These major victories are attributed to those men who sacrificed everything, leaving their mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends, education, and work behind; the men who faced bombs, bullets, and tanks. Men who ultimately had to choose between two loves, that of becoming a martyr and dying honorable protecting their nation from tyrants or that of living a life amongst their family and friends.
Placards line the hills and valleys in Lebanon within the towns and villages, which leaves a stark reminder for passerby’s and locals of the battles that raged from the past. I will leave you with a list of some of the names that are placed upon the placards, while others remain absent.
Below is a very, very short list of the martyrs that sacrificed all for Lebanon.
Ala’a Ali Yassine, 24 years of age
Hashim Ali Salema, age unknown
Hussein Ali Abdullah, 24 years
Hussein Haidar Ahmad, 33 years of age
Imad Mughniya, 46 years of age
Kamal Abdullah Al-Rida, 25 years of age
Kamal Hasan Badradeen, 19 years of age
Karim Ma’afuf A’atwi, 20 years of age
Muhammad Hadi Nasrallah, 18 years of age
Rani Adnan Bazzi, 39 years of age
Siham Muhammad Al-Mousawi, 34 years of age