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Why everyone who is unfairly and unexpectedly killed in Lebanon becomes a martyr? I think It’s a Middle East-wide problem, but let’s talk about Lebanon for now. Martyr for me is someone who got killed, with a personal readiness to die, for his country or a legitimate national cause.

In Lebanon, people get killed in car accidents, family disputes, normal crimes, street conflicts and of course in sectarian fightings. We use the term loosely to the extent that all the killed individuals can be called “martyrs”.

All what this does is keeping us all on high emotional alert, and giving the killed people some inaccurate status, if not undeserved privilege sometimes – with all due respect to their individual cases and sympathy to their families.

What got me this time was few people, in good faith calling the innocent civilians and children who were killed by the militias fighting in Tripoli as “martyrs”. But why? What’s wrong with “victims”? And how children can be martyrs? Did they voluntarily sign up to it? And should they? And does the term ‘victims’ demean their tragedy in any way?

The killed civilians in Bab Al-Tibbeneh and Jabal Mohsen clashes are victims of sectarian violence and chaos. The emotional labeling can become more combustible when religion enters the equation, but I will leave it there.

I don’t consider any Lebanese killed by another Lebanese (and probably criminal) fire to be a martyr. I hope we can be cautious in labelling deaths and ultimately work on having less of them. May be our people glorify violence because we have too many martyrs, or the other way round. I don’t know, it could be catch 22.

Photo credit: taken¬†by Mimo Khair. You can check the original copy on her flickr account. The photo’s copyrights are protected, so please do not download the photo without written permission.


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