A Character of Contradictory Traits: Untold Memories of Hadi Nasrallah’s Teacher
By Nour Rida
"Praise to God … who chose a martyr from my family, bestowing upon us the gift of martyrdom, and including us in the community of the Holy Martyrs' families." These were the words with which the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah celebrated the martyrdom of his 18-year old son, or in other words, the killing of his eldest son by 'Israelis' in 1997. Sayyed Nasrallah expressed relief since his son showed loyalty and faithfulness to his country and cause, and was killed while defending Lebanon against 'Israeli' occupation and aggression.
Not only did Sayyed Nasrallah express relief at his son’s martyrdom, but he also thanked God for putting him and his family on equal with all other parents who lost their sons in the fight against 'Israel.' This is one of the stories worth recounting on the attitude and manners of the Hezbollah Secretary General, and it would not be surprising to know that his son, Hadi, was like his father, consistently committing himself to the ideals he had preached.
On the 22nd anniversary of Hadi Nasrallah’s martyrdom, al-Ahed news interviewed Fatima HIjazi, who was Hadi’s teacher back at school.
Describing Hadi, Mrs. Hijazi told al-Ahed news that Hadi was truly one of his kind. “He was a revolutionary young man in my class who enjoyed excellent manners and was friendly to everyone. He enjoyed many characteristics that made him so special. He was loving and caring towards everyone around him. He always rushed to help others and was very sensitive. He deeply cared about the wellbeing of his friends and teachers.”
Teaching him Arabic at al-Mustafa school, Mrs. Hijazi recalled saying “I started working at a young age, I was only 20 when I started teaching at the time. Hadi was around 13 years back then. He was smart and had a nice sense of humor, and was also into arts. He was loving to everyone. I still remember, that he would see me in a public place or on the street and rush to say hello even if I did not see him.”
“I was always impressed with his essays and participation in class. He was poise and well-educated and was always eager to learn more.”
What was so attractive about his personality, Mrs. Hijazi said, was that “he sort of combined contradictory traits. He was polite, modest and shy but also very brave. He knew how to balance between being revolutionary and active and when to be calm and quiet.”
According to Mrs. Hijazi, “This is something all teachers know well. Some students are always remembered because they are very special and unique, and I do not say this because he was the son of so and so. He was truly special.
What was even more striking was that he never acted as if he was the son of an important figure. Despite his young age, he left a large impact on the lives of many people including me.”
When it comes to the resistance, his teacher said “Hadi was revolutionary and had a strong drive for taking part in the resistance movement; he always saw that fighting the 'Israeli' occupation was a duty.”
Hijazi learned about Hadi’s martyrdom from his father, who gave a speech on that day commemorating another event related to martyrs. “My tears rolled down my cheeks, and what made me choke was seeing his father, who was around 36 years back then so steadfast and strong. We all cried at the gathering, we all cried but Sayyed Nasrallah did not cry at all.”
On the next day, at the ceremony held for Hadi at school, Hijazi said “His mom attended, and she was shockingly calm and tranquil. She was proud of her son who was martyred to defend the cause and I could not stop imagining how hard that could be. But I was not too shocked; Hadi was similar to them consistently committing himself to the ideals he believed in.”
Asked on what would have Hadi done today if he were alive and she was his teacher again, she said “Hadi would have probably written a letter to those who accept normalization with the 'Israeli' enemy as his essay. He would have written about the treason and surrender of some Arab regimes, and about 'Israel,' the usurper in the region, and that Palestine will be free from all sorts of occupation and apartheid one day.”
“I was honored to teach Hadi, and I learned from him tremendous lessons. These young men realize their dreams twice; once when they defend their homeland and people and preserve their country’s dignity and sovereignty, and once by becoming martyrs and ascending to paradise.”