Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 31st, 2013

Selfi Mohammad Chaar: “16-year old is not a Martyr nor a Hero”?

This is another re-post on the subject. This one was selected as one of the top posts on wordpress.com
16 year old Mohammad Chaar is not a Martyr nor a Hero.

I feel like I have no right to even mention your name.

I have been sitting at home reading the #RIPMohammadChaar tweets for the past four hours.

Your friend Yasmine broke my heart.

It’s killing me. Wow, what a weird choice of words.

I am going to make it worse by telling you that it’s not fair. And that no, you are not a martyr and that no, you are not a hero.

You are 16.

You still don’t know what you want to do, you just want to be stupid, have fun and stay up late with friends.

You want to kiss someone under the rain, steal your parent’s car, get into college, get a part time job and dance in the streets.

You won’t.

It’s unfair but you won’t.

You won’t because you were murdered and robbed from your friends and family. You won’t because some lowlife squeezed a button.

You did not pick this battle, you did not look for it.

Heroes and martyrs usually know what they’r fighting for.

Right now you are a murder victim.

You are not a hero. The only way for you to become a Hero is if your death does not go in vain.

The only way for you to be a martyr for a cause is if your death causes a change.

Every time this happens we hear the same reactions; and innocent people are automatically given martyrdom and hero status as if they were looking to die; for some cause that we don’t know of.

None of the innocent bystanders wanted to die.

If we gave them all a choice they would not have wanted to die, especially that it always goes in vain.

We cry and get angry, we organize a march or a sit in and then we forget.

Every single time! We get angry, we cry and then we forget.

This is going to happen again.

That’s the sad part, we all know that another bomb is going to blow up somewhere again soon. We have to do something about it.

We have to, this is unbearable.  We cannot accept this anymore, we cannot just sit and watch as homes are shattered, as people’s lives change in a second for nothing! We cannot stand by when 16 year old kids get slaughtered in mid day for reasons that we do not believe in!

We are not allowed to act cool anymore every time a bomb goes off and go have a drink because “nothing keeps us down”…

We cannot distance ourselves from the victims. Guys, anyone of us could have been there when the bomb went off.

I am sick of making phone calls to make sure everyone I know is alive every time a bomb goes off! (Actually, my nephew called a minute after the explosion to relieve our anxiety that he might be one of the victims)

Do you understand what we are getting used to? This is not the norm.

This has to change, we have a responsibility to change it: like it or not, more sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, cousins and friends are going to die!

Like it or not the bombs are going to keep going off!

Like it or not you are already in this fight! Someone is already killing you!

This is where we decide that enough is enough.

Our friends and families souls are not just statistics and numbers in a newspaper.

Our parents went through even worse times, they had non of the abilities and tools that we now have.

This is the time for us as a generation to say that we have had enough.

Mohammad’s friends are organizing a march that will start from his school “Hariri high school 2″ (next to Lycee Abdel Kader in Zarif) at 10a.m Monday morning leading to where the explosion took place (Details on this Facebook link).

They are asking people to get a white flower with them. They should be joined by students from all over the country. They should be joined by all of us.

This should not end here. I have a feeling it won’t. There already are calls for action.

Once and for all, let us make real Martyrs and real Heroes out of the innocents who have died.

Enough people have died in vain.

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.”- Søren Kierkegaard

Note: Another repost by Diaa Hadid, Associated Press, this December 30, 2013

‘Selfie’ captures slain teen’s last moments before powerful car bomb set off in ritzy Lebanese shopping district

Warning: Graphic images

It’s a happy moment, a selfie taken by a group of teenagers on a sunny day in downtown Beirut. Mohammed Shaar sits among his friends in a red hoodie and his dark-framed glasses.

The next photos, captured by journalists only moments later, are tragic. The 16-year-old Shaar lies mortally wounded, his red hoodie and his blood forming a scarlet blur on the pavement – an anonymous civilian casualty of a car bomb that killed a prominent politician.

The before-and-after montage of Shaar, who died of his wounds a day after Friday’s bombing, has rattled Lebanese who in Shaar’s ordinary-turned-horrifying day saw their own lives and potentially their own fate.

The Lebanese teenager has since become a symbol of a population held ransom (by the country’s widening violence and swelling tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, exacerbated by the war in neighbouring Syria and foreign powers meddling in our crappy internal affairs).

On Monday, hundreds of Shaar’s fellow students marched to the Starco building, outside of which the bombing took place. They held signs saying “We are all Mohammed,” waved the Lebanese flag and left flowers.

The powerful car bomb targeted Mohammed Chatah, a former finance minister (allied with the Hariri clan and Al Moustakbal movement).

Chatah’s allies in a mainly Sunni political coalition, backed by the West, quickly pointed the finger at the Shiite Hezbollah guerrilla group, which denied the accusations.

But the blast, on a main avenue of the ritzy downtown shopping district, killed not only Chatah and his driver but also 8 passers-by – including Shaar.

Friends said Shaar was out in downtown celebrating the end of the school semester, having coffee with his three friends at a Starbucks.

They strolled through downtown to the Starco building, a complex of offices and shops. There, they took that last selfie (before going to play basketball)Moments later, the district was shaken by the blast, which sent a plume of black smoke over the area – and Shaar fell with a bleeding shrapnel wound in the head.

At his funeral on Sunday, sectarian anger bubbled up, with some mourners chanting anti-Shiite slogans.

But more prevalent was anger over being caught in the crossfire as powerful factions – whoever they may be – fight out their political differences. Shaar, a Sunni, wasn’t political or particularly religious, those who knew him said.

Several hundred emerged for his funeral, and tens gathered outside, some holding signs protesting the deaths of civilians.

“Every one of us imagined ourselves in that place,” activist Mohammed Estateyeh said outside the Khashakhgi mosque in the Sunni-dominated Beirut neighbourhood of Qasqas after Shaar’s burial. “The picture of Mohammed lying on the ground – and the picture just before the explosion – they were four guys who were just hanging out.”

Estateyeh, of the Muslim Students League in Beirut, printed black-white-and-yellow posters of Shaar, with the Arabic-language hashtag slogan scrawled underneath: “#We-are-not-numbers.”

The slogan caught on online, with some people posting pictures of themselves holding it on Facebook.

Montages of Shaar’s life-then-death photos circulated widely on Facebook and Twitter.

“Kill the person you want to kill – that’s why they invented guns,” Shaar’s former geography teacher Dalal Batrawi wept at the funeral. “If that’s the path you want to take, leave the rest of us alone.”

Earlier Sunday, at a memorial ceremony carried live on Lebanese television, Shaar’s teachers and students from the private Hariri High School – named after an assassinated Sunni former prime minister – described the teen as a bright, goofy student who loved basketball, lasagna and Harry Potter.

Mohammad often bought cookies, croissants and milkshakes for his friends. Friends recalled him chatting with them at 5 a.m. on the instant-message system “Whatsapp.”

“You know what sucks?” his friend Rahaf Jammal said at the memorial, speaking in English. “It’s the fact that he didn’t finish the book I got him for his birthday. He didn’t finish Harry Potter (movies) because he kept asking me to watch it with him.”

“It’s the fact he had his whole future planned out and he couldn’t accomplish anything, because of this stupid, cruel and crappy country.”

The grief over Shaar is given greater resonance by the fears among Lebanese that they are lurching back into the abyss, still battered from their own 15-year war, which ended in 1990.

That civil war was partly ignited by sectarian tensions among Lebanon’s Shiite, Sunni, Christian and Druse minorities.

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, a Lebanese policeman helps 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

Sunni-Shiite tensions began growing after a powerful car bomb in 2005 killed the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, who called for an end to neighboring Syria’s domination of the country and criticized Syria’s ally Hezbollah.

Hariri’s assassination was followed by over a dozen other assassinations of anti-Syrian figures. His allies blame Syria and Hezbollah for the killings; both deny involvement.

(A cliché disseminated by the opposition March 14, as if all the other car bombings on Hezbollah strongholds in last month were perpetrated against themselves. Blame it on the Wahhabi Saudi monarchy who are the main funding source for all the terrorists factions…)

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, a Lebanese policeman helps 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

Although some of the assassinations and attempted assassinations over the past years also targeted Christians, Druse, and Shiaa, Lebanon’s Sunnis have felt the most threatened.

The Sunni community’s leadership is fractured. Religious hardliners preach they are being targeted by a Shiite plot to crush them. Ordinary Sunnis, neither particularly political nor religious, complain they feel marginalized.

Those feelings have sharply grown since Syria’s uprising against President Bashar Assad began three years ago.

Rebels seeking to overthrow Assad are mostly Sunni, and the most powerful are al-Qaida extremists.

Syria’s sectarian splits have enflamed Lebanon’s, with its Sunnis mainly lining up behind Syria’s rebels and its Shiites backing Assad. Hezbollah has dispatched its fighters to shore up Assad’s forces, infuriating opponents in Lebanon.

The result has been violence rooted in Syria’s war.

Two car bombs targeted Sunni worshippers at mosques in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli this year; another two exploded in a Shiite neighborhood in south Beirut. Another twin-bombing targeted the Iranian embassy, apparently to punish Iran for supporting Assad.

Civilians have been the majority of the victims.

Amid the grief, the sectarian sentiments emerge.

At Shaar’s funeral, hundreds of mourners chanting against Hezbollah trapped the country’s top Sunni cleric in the mosque, because he is perceived as sympathetic to the group. Soldiers with assault rifles had to muscle into the mosque to protect Mufti Mohammed Qabani and hustle him into an armored vehicle to get away.

Angry worshippers pelted the soldiers with rocks, eggs and shoes.

Shaar was forgotten amid the mourners’ anger, something not lost on his friends.

People are using his death as an excuse for war,” said his friend Jammal. “But really all we should do is pray, pray, pray, and keep praying.”

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, Lebanese men carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

AP Photo/Bilal HusseinLebanese students of the private Hariri High School, named after a prominent assassinated Sunni leader, broadcast a short film about 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar, who was one of seven people killed in a car bomb that ripped through the upscale downtown district of Beirut, during a memorial ceremony, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein A Lebanese friend of 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar, who was one of 7 people killed in a car bomb that ripped through the upscale downtown district of Beirut, is comforted by others as he mourns during a sit-in at the scene of the explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

Wounded Knee Massacre: 123 Years Ago

On December 29, 1890, some 150 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by the US 7th Calvary Regiment near Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Some estimate the actual number closer to 300.

Levi Rickert commented in Currents, Opinion Dec, 28, 2013
We Remember Those Lost

The Wounded Knee Massacre is when most American history books drop American Indians from history.

The Wounded Knee Massacre is when most American history books drop American Indians from history.

Snowfall was heavy that December week.

The Lakota ancestors killed that day were left in brutal frigid wintry plains of the reservation before a burial party came to bury them in one mass grave.

The photograph of Big Foot’s frozen and contorted body is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

Some of those who survived were eventually taken to the Episcopal mission in Pine Ridge.

Eventually, some of them were able to give an oral history of what happened. One poignant fact of the massacre has remained in my mind since first reading it, and every time I think about Wounded Knee, I remember this from Dee Brown’s in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”:

“It was the fourth day after Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters.

Across the chancel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner: “Peace on earth, good will to men,”

There was no peace on earth for the Lakota four days after Christmas.

Later, as absurd as it may sound, some 20 US Calvary soldiers were given the Medal of Honor – for killing innocent Lakota men, women and children. What an insult to those who lost their lives. What an insult to humanity.

The Wounded Knee Massacre is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

History records the Wounded Knee Massacre was the last battle of the American Indian war. Unfortunately, it is when most American history books drop American Indians from history, as well. As if we no longer exist.

Fortunately, American Indians have survived – one generation after another – since Wounded Knee.

It is for us who remain to remember our ancestors as we make for a better life for those we encounter today.

We are also taught to prepare for the next 7 generations, but as we do, we must remember our ancestors.

We remember those ancestors lost on December 29 — 123 winters ago.

Syrian women: Their suffering and endurance

 
This is a re-p0st of one of the Editors’ Picks for 2013.

Asmaa 

 

I want to start by talking about Asmaa (pictured above). I met her in Jordan, five days after she had been released from a regime prison.

She is the fiancée of Abdul Razak Tlass, who was the first officer to defect from the Syrian army when the revolution began. She was captured transporting a Kalashnikov in her bag after a tip-off.

She told me about how she was interrogated, made to stand up without break for hours on end and deprived of sleep, but nothing they did could get her to give the names of who she had been working with.

When you see her eyes you understand immediately how much she suffered. I know she wasn’t telling me the full story of what happened to her.

Considering the fact that the use of sexual violence by the regime is not unknown, I have the suspicion that something like this happened to her. When you look in her eyes as she talks about her experience,e it is clear that terrible things were done to her. A part of her soul died in that prison.

But something very interesting came out of my talking to her.  She was in a cell with 9 other Syrian women, all different religions, Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Druze and Christian. They all came to love each other during their time in captivity and it is one of the reasons why she believes that the people of Syria can be united in the future and is something she feels very strongly about.

So many in the West think that the people in Syria are hopelessly divided and all want to kill each other along religious lines. Women like Asmaa, who despite all they have suffered, demonstrate that this is not the case.

She was only released from prison after 13 months because the FSA swapped prisoners in order to get her out.  Now she is in the relative safety of Jordan and working to help her fellow Syrians as best she can.

One of the things I noticed about Syrian women in general is how strong and resilient they are.

In the refugee camps, despite losing so much, they continue their lives in the best way they can, they cook and look after their families.

Their standard of living is very much reduced, but they continue. Compare this with many of the men I saw who were in the refugee camps, who have lost their work, there is nothing for them to do, so they just sit around in groups with other men, drinking tea and smoking.

Psychologically I would say that the women handle the situation better. They have something to do, the men on the other hand do not, and as a  result end up looking very lost and feeling quite useless.

On the surface, Syria is very much a male dominated society but under the surface the women have a lot of influence.

All Syrian men will tell you how strong the women are, never mess with a Syrian women, they half jokingly tell me. To be honest I don’t know how they keep going, the women, men and children but then again it isn’t as if they have much choice.

They have become the victims of callous geo-political games with only power and influence as their objective. The governments of the world have proven that they are not fit for purpose. Why?

Because they see the human suffering they cause as no more than collateral damage.

Syria: Facing the revolution

Here is a video slideshow of some of my work in Syria which hasn’t been published before along with Syrian music and also a commentary I made.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2013
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,441,098 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: