If you look through Wikipedia, you find an interesting explanation to the word that has taken over most of our lives in Lebanon:
“In its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible. The process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers (e.g. Josephus) and from the New Testament that witnesses often died for their testimonies.
During the early Christian centuries, the term acquired the extended meaning of a believer who is called to witness for their religious belief, and on account of this witness, endures suffering and/or death. The term, in this later sense, entered the English language as a loanword. The death of a martyr or the value attributed to it is called martyrdom.
The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion. The early Christians appear to have seen Jesus as the archetypal martyr.
The word martyr is used in English to describe a wide variety of people. However, the following table presents a general outline of common features present in stereotypical martyrdoms.
|1.||A hero||A person of some renown who is devoted to a cause believed to be admirable.|
|2.||Opposition||People who oppose that cause.|
|3.||Foreseeable risk||The hero foresees action by opponents to harm him or her, because of his or her commitment to the cause.|
|4.||Courage and Commitment||The hero continues, despite knowing the risk, out of commitment to the cause.|
|5.||Death||The opponents kill the hero because of his or her commitment to the cause.|
|6.||Audience response||The hero’s death is commemorated. People may label the hero explicitly as a martyr. Other people may in turn be inspired to pursue the same cause.|
Click here for more information. Being a Martyr in Lebanon has a whole different meaning though, it means dead in vain, it’s those that had different views, those that tried to free themselves from bribings, those poor souls that were around these free thinkers. it’s those who lost their lives before their time in drastic turn of events, bombings, gun shots, and random killings.
But I read this interesting post from joestencents where he depicts the lives of the Lebanese in the midst of wars, bomb explosions, and fighting. I fully agree with most of what is written in the post, except a few points that I believe are harder to deal with, or even explain.
In the part “With an opposition with the memory of a goldfish, that feels no implication when their own people are murdered, that continues business as usual when an explosive shakes the city, why would you feel the least bit of resistance? No one is asking you to lock yourself home and cry in your bedroom. But when your people are being bombed, murdered, dismembered… the least you can do is radiate a sense of concern.” I ask you Joe this: how much grieving can a human heart take in before dying out in your body?
I luckily didn’t loose anyone too dear to me in the last car bomb assassination; and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been spared; I never said I erased the names of those that died as well, I grieved for a brief moment, but if I were to grieve in extremes like you propose we do, I think I would have died a couple of years ago due to my heart dissolving.
I know your post comes from a fed-up sense of Lebanon, and I fully agree with you, but if we don’t limit the intake, how can you expect to be able to live a full and healthy life?
There is another part I would like to point out in your post: “When a car bomb exploded earlier in August in Roueiss, some of my European friends messaged me asking me if I was okay, as they had read that a “bomb exploded in the center of Beirut”. That night, I sent them a picture of Uruguay street in Downtown Beirut, bustling with people having a drink and not having a care in the world. Roueiss who?”
In this part you’re generalizing the Lebanese, trying to make them follow your own way of thinking, and even though I agree with you, I have to point out something else; if we were to stop our lives every time a bombing attempt takes place (which unfortunately happens way too often in Lebanon), how do you expect Lebanon, as an economic country, to survive? after all someone needs to keep the work going, people need to go out and use whatever fun the city has to offer to keep their minds off depression, bar owners have a business to run, so do parking lot keepers, bankers, and each and every market. Imagine if it were all to shut down for a couple of days everytime a tragedy hits our country; we’ll stay even more stagnate than we already are and kill all hopes for a better future, making young spirits leave their home even more than they already are, and keep our home a dark nightmare.
My view might be a bit extreme as well, but I like to view all options when looking at my home, especially since I’m still planning on staying here, living here, and raising my kids in the same streets I grew up in. So why not?
I love the idea of a Cedar Revolution, unfortunately I believe that the only way we would be able to do that is by removing all forms of political parties, all forms of outside sources (aka Syria, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran and all those not 100% Lebanese), and of course all religious divisions before being able to find a crowd of Lebanese all carrying the same flag in their hearts.
So if by any chance you manage to find more people like us, send me a hint, I’ll be there with flowers and hugs, ready to grieve, laugh, love, and share.