Your Memory Will Never Be Forgotten… Pandemic or No Pandemic
By Fatimah Haydar
South Lebanon – At times like this you get to know what people are really made of. Times like these reveal the people you can truly count on. But what are these times?
On February 21, 2020, Lebanon confirmed its first coronavirus case.
On March 6 Lebanon’s Minister of Health Hamad Hassan declared that "Lebanon is no longer in Coronavirus containment stage". Later that month, on March 9, the Lebanese Parliament closed down. Everyone was instructed by the government to stay home and the army was asked to interfere by order from Lebanon’s president and prime minister.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gave several speeches during that period. He urged the Lebanese to abide by the government’s instructions and put Hezbollah’s resources under the service of the state.
In his speech on March 21, His Eminence said that Hezbollah declared its readiness “to provide everything the Ministry of Health, the relevant ministries, or the state require from us.” He pointed out that “the number of our brothers and sisters who are working is close to 20000”.
Furthermore, in another speech Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the need for people’s commitment to the state’s general mobilization procedures which “should be accurate and continuous,” noting that the start of social work and social solidarity are very promising, and long-term plans must be built.
This being said, it is clear that amid the global coronavirus pandemic, social distancing is a must, so as to avoid the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, in Aita al-Shaab, a village in south Lebanon, a southern family is getting ready to commemorate the 1st martyrdom anniversary of its beloved, Martyr Khalil Ibrahim Kassem.
Martyr Khalil, who was born on September 2, 1981 and acquired a Master’s degree in Business, was a commander in the Islamic Resistance responsible for one of Hezbollah’s portfolios in Lebanon and Syria.
The father of three amazing little girls – Zeinab, Zahraa and Fatima – was martyred in Syria on April 18, 2019.
His wife, Mozayan, an English teacher, talks of the martyr as if he were still here. “I just pretend that he’s at work; and when I visit his grave, it means he’s home with us,” she said.
“Khalil was a caring father… when he’s home from work, he spends all his time with his daughters… cuddling them and giving them all the love,” Mozayan sighed.
Fatima who is now about a year old, was two-months-old when her father last saw her. Mozayan explains that “she got all her father’s love and attention when he was home”.
“I am a martyr’s wife, and I am honored!” she said with pride. “But with this comes great responsibility – responsibilities towards our family and towards society”.
Mozayan elaborates and says,
“It’s customary to publicly celebrate the martyrdom anniversary with prayers and Quran reading in the martyr’s memory… to show that he will never be forgotten… that his sacrifices towards his homeland are cherished”.
“But in light of this coronavirus pandemic, there will be no public commemoration… as we have always abided by Sayyed Nasrallah’s instructions, this will not be an exception no matter how dear the martyr is to us!” Khalil’s wife said.
“His memory and sacrifices will never be forgotten, pandemic or no pandemic… he will live in each and every one of us,” she added.
A modest gathering will be held at the martyr’s tomb and only attended by family members where verses from the Quran will be dedicated to him.
“We, as the martyr’s family, won’t risk endangering the lives of other people at the expense of public safety. We’d rather commemorate Khalil’s martyrdom silently, than break Sayyed Nasrallah’s words, who Khalil greatly respects,” Mozayan said.
Many remember martyr Khalil as a friendly man of few words. But among his friends at work, he was loved and known for his remarkable personality.
His friends remember how helpful, caring and lighthearted he was. They said he would solve the problems of his peers and personally serve them, disregarding his higher rank.
“Martyr Khalil was a perfectionist. He would be the first at work; he would complete all required tasks and provide work-related ideas”, his peers at work recalled.
“But most importantly, he had nerves of steel, he would initiate offensive operations against the enemy,” they added.
They also underscored martyr Khalil’s dedication to work.
“Although he hadn’t recover from his first injury, he would show up at work and help us accomplish our tasks”.
To them, Martyr Khalil was a symbol of altruism – an embodiment of true Islam. They say that if he were with us today, he would not want to cause anybody any harm.
Martyr Khalil is just one among many who sacrificed their lives in the path of Imam Hussein (AS) – the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBH) – not by words, rather by blood, by resisting oppression, by a language that history will never forget.
Many will fall for the sake of this path – the righteous path. But they will never be forgotten. Their memories will live on in every liberated inch of the country, in every cry for freedom, and in every head held high in honor and dignity.
Just men of the Resistance fell on the battlefields, so too did brave doctors, nurses and paramedics amidst the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Both put the welfare of others before their own – it’s the highest form of altruism.
As hours turn to days and days to months, we really don’t know where this epidemic will take humanity. But what we are sure of is that the memory of those who are gone will never be forgotten.
This is dedicated to the souls of Martyr Khalil Kassem and all the fallen doctors and nurses during this epidemic. You will always be remembered.
To the Islamic Resistance men and to those risking their lives to confront this pandemic, you have our utmost respect and salutation.