Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘culture of martyrdom

Testimonies 30 years after a civil war: Hezbollah “Martyr Institute”

From the issue of the daily Al Balad, May 28, 2005

Five years have elapsed since the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon.  The investigative piece is analyzing the state of the industry of forming martyrs, which is the culture of Hezbollah.

From the start, even before publicly announcing its formation between the years 1976-1982, Hezbollah founders spread the culture of Islamic salvation, in tune with the victory of Khomeini’s revolution in Iran among the Southern Lebanese Shiaa.

The “Amal” militia has already paved the way by recruiting the Shiaa youth, already affiliated to other political parties.

The Islamic salvation culture targeted the broken families, the orphans, and those who could not resume their education. Hezbollah prepared them to be fighters and martyrs.  The first martyrs were the fertile land on which Hezbollah cultivated its recruiting domain among the families and relatives of the martyrs.

Hezbollah was the primary organization that instituted specialized organs to reap the benefit such as the “Martyr Institute”, which is to generate more recruits for martyrdom and organs to follow up on the event of martyr cases.

A formal process is followed after a martyr is declared.  A group of the martyr’s brothers and friends converge to the family residence and deliver the “good news”. Then, the whole neighborhood presents their condolences and a loudspeaker is mounted on the roof to chant verses from the Koran and other Iranian lyrics.

The next day, the body of the martyr is washed by his comrades in arm who individually approach their lips from his ear and proffer their last wishes and salutations to the predecessors in heaven for him to deliver on their behalf.  Some of these members could as well write their wishes on a piece of paper that is attached to the “Kafan” the white cloth wrapping the body of the martyr.

After the ceremony, the newspapermen of the “3ahd” visit the family to note down the martyr’s biography and publish it in newspapers along with a collection of his photos. The various Hezbollah institutes take over the reconstitution of the lives of the whole family. The whole family starts participating in the cultural procedures and adopting the symbolisms of Hezbollah from what to wear, how to salute, what to say and how to behave in gathering in rhythmic and synchronized manners.

The “Martyr Institute” was established in 1982, after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.  This institute is considered similar to the one established in Iran.  The main role of the institute is to keep the culture of martyrdom alive and current in the fabric of the families who lost a martyr.  The institute comprises 1,500 employees and volunteers and is divided into two directorates:

The first branch is involved with public relation and the activities.

The second branch is specialized in finding guarantors or guardians for the children of martyrs and companions for their spouses. The sources of most of the funds for this branch come from Iran.

A large female organ manages this branch so that the martyr is never forgotten and his value increases after his martyrdom.  A museum has been established to preserve the valuables and the belongings of the martyrs.  These procedures tell the martyr that his family will be fine after he dies and a message to the enemy that if he kills a member of Hezbollah then the martyr will generates ten folds more of ready martyrs and a wider adherents to the party.

Women are the preserver of the society of martyrs, while men are the instrument and the providers of martyrs.  Thus, unlike the secular parties (such as the Communist Party or the Syrian Social National Party) who had mixed martyrs of both genders, Hezbollah never prepared women for the task of martyrdom .

The martyr spreads his aura around his family and relatives, and his achievements are kept alive.  The women of the martyr’s family are attributed the ranks of cousins of “Zinab”, who was the sister of their prime martyr Hussine.  For instance, members of Hezbollah say: “Your veil sister is more precious than my blood”.

Another Hezbollah culture is to allow its supporters to keep vigil near enemy lines for a period extending beyond two weeks so that he is trained to be ready emotionally when facing his enemy. The Koran says: “O faithful, be patient, keep vigil and believe in God so that you might succeed.” This requirement is akin to compulsive military recruitment in States so that differences among the society’s strata are diminished.  In that regard, the leaders of Hezbollah participate in the vigils amid their members and supporters.

The article is wondering how Hezbollah is going to maintain his organization, now that relative peace is no longer generating martyrs?




June 2023

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