Ok, one thing for sure, it is dying as routine has struck a year and half stagnation. A lot are losing hopes of everything, and mass mobilizations are shrinking in size (well unless Hezbollah command their supporters to hit the barricades). Nevertheless, the overall political mobilizations have been shrinking in size, and even members from the Democratic Left Movement and Lebanese Communist Party (the two current cartoonish comical parties) have been expressing disappointments and de-activating themselves. In fact, when I stood against the hilarious Democratic Left, they mocked me and some went as far as to accuse me as a Syrian agent. Now, a majority of the ones I know are apologizing to me (after 4 years) and some even thanked me for keeping the line of return active. This does not mean that these members became progressive, oh no, they are stuck in the whirlpool of being trapped in 14th of March coalition and in their endless “epical” heroic battles against Syria and Iran.
Having said all that, what is the New Philosophy of Martyrdom? It is of course from my concept not related to Jihad nor anything else that is religious. It is process whereby one reactionary leader gets his/her agenda through by claiming to defend an influential figure’s ideas. This probably first appeared when Lenin died, Stalin self-proclaimed himself as defender of what he invented as “Leninism”, whereby he iconized Lenin (despite the fact that Lenin wrote extensively against iconization) and argued that whoever opposes him, opposes the glorious Lenin. Now Lenin died a natural death, but the process in Lebanese politics became active. We probably first witnessed that in Lebanon when Antoun Saadi was executed, different party members self-proclaimed themselves as the defenders of his radical ideas. After only 9 years of Antoun Saadi’s death, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party suffered from its first split.
A more clearer activity appeared when Imam Moussa el Sadre disappeared. AMAL movement was suffering from disorganization, lack of members, and lack of alternatives to rebuild. When Moussa el Sadre disappeared, AMAL movement members started to preach how they are defending el Sadre’s ideas, and of course, that was accompanied with over inflating el Sadre’s character/role in real life. AMAL movement after 1978 increased to incredible dimension even el Sadre himself didn’t expect to gather so much members.
A third one would be the assassination of Kamal Junblatt. With Kamal Junblatt, Walid Junblatt gambled a lot on his father’s name to also pursue his own goals. The fact that till 2005 he revived the concept of Syria killing his father makes it hilarious. Currently, a lot of PSP members call Kamal Junblatt as “the Teacher”, and some of them praise Walid Junblatt as the true heir, because Kamal Junblatt now is downsized to simply anti-Syrian and disregarded his socialist beliefs, his war against Zionism, and his solidarity with the Palestinians. (Even some try to erase the fact that the Progressive Socialist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party were allies and their military men functioned sometimes as a single unit during the two year war).
A fourth one would be the assassination of Bashir Gemayel. Rewriting history on how he struck a deal with Sharon to get the Israeli Defense Forces to Beirut and install him as a Lebanese President, he was perceived as a hero by his followers. He was shortly assassinated with an explosion. The logo “Bashir Hayy Finna” (translation Bashir is still alive in us) is widely used by Phalange and Lebanese Forces supporters. Even Karim Bakradoni, with his short-lived flirtations as head of the Phalange Party with the Syrians, tried to link Bashir Gemayel to loving the Syrians. Jaajaa, Amin Gemayel, and other figures remain till this day at any chance to mention Bashir Gemayel to enforce their ideas on their supporters.
In any case, how does this apply in our community now? Ever since Rafiq el Harriri died, and along with him the economist Basil Fliehan, the philosophy of Martyrdom reached a new level. Directly after Harriri’s death, Samir Qassir and George Hawwi were assassinated, and eventually Joubran Tuieni followed them. The idea was to link all people assassinated under different circumstances and place them under one umbrella: anti-Syria. Hence, Kamal Junblatt, Bashir Gemayel, Mufti Khaled, and Rene Moua’awad were all associated with Rafiq Harriri, Samir Qassir, Bassil Fleihan, George Hawwi, and Jubran Tuieni. The difference between the former and the latter that the former is the fact all died at separate political circumstances at separate times during the civil war. Syria at a one point flirted Kamal Junblatt, Gemayel’s father, and of course Rafiq el Harriri and others. This means that 14th of March sought legitimacy in fighting Syria’s influence ever since Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated, despite the fact that Walid Junblatt allied after 4 years with them in the face of the Phalange/Lebanese Forces/Ahhrar/Israel. From Kamal Junblatt to Antoine Ghanem (the last target is still disputed regarding the assassinated General), the names has been placed into a single umbrella to face the opposing camps. Hence Aoun is fighting Pierre Gemayel Jr. and Samir Qassir. In fact, Samir Qassir never dreamt in real life that his name would be that inflated and used, but media inflated his martyrdom to fully retaliate on Pro-Syrian parties. The same applies about Pierre Gemayel Jr., he was hailed as the heir of Bashir and Pierre (Sr.) Gemayel.
While Hezbollah claims the 1300 civilians to be their own martyrs, 14th of March balanced out through their claim over all the names since Kamal Junblatt’s death. The on-going assassinations of the politicians within 14th of March camp reinforces their philosophy on the grassroots level. However, it should be noticed that due to the stalemate between the government and the opposition, each martyr dies gets less and less media attention compared to Samir Qassir, George Hawwi, Joubran Tueini, and Rafiq el Harriri. Walid Eido and Antoine Ghanem’s death got least media attention while the pro-14th of March media played and replayed the life stories of the early assassinated politicians.
A brief example of the new philosophy would be me going head to head with a stupid Democratic Left member:
Me: I seriously cant think a leftist should be part of 14th of March because it is too nationalist, and too liberal economically.
DLMer: Why? Because you disrespect Samir Qassir? Join us and don’t let his name be stained.
Me: What does that has to do with this?
DLMer: Because if you are not with us, you hate freedom, and you are not Leftist, Samir Qassir died for Lebanon and DLM. For Qassir join us!
Me: More like join you, and worship Elias Atallah and play ping-pong between Elias Khoury & Ziad Majed versus Elias Attallah And in the end, none of them is leftist, whatever happened to ‘long live the workers’!
Hence, the debate goes on and on. Bottomline is, DLMers tried to apply this philosophy; they are only successful in recruiting partly through the Samir Qassir foundation. Yet, their number shrank from what was supposed to be 5000 members to barely 340 participating in internal elections last year. I used the DLM excuse because it always amuses me. All the other parties are doing the same. Some PSP members almost think Kamal Jumblatt died 3 years ago (technically they are living it “we are seeking to avenge the First Teacher”).
Harriri is a more logical example. Before he died, everyone was complaining from taxes and unemployment. When he died, suddenly he became the angelic saint blindly, while the majority of the Sunnis became mobilized towards 14th of March. This media transformation can’t seize to amaze me how the transformation occurred. His movement’s station Future TV, daily replays historic moments from his life. His death became the political torpedo not only to oust the Syrians out of Lebanon, but also a missile spearhead to attempt and shoot the Syrian Baathi regime in Damascus. His “tomb” became a pilgrimage and history again was re-written disregarding the bad side of what happened in relations to Rafiq el Harriri. Now we see every liberalization of a sector, Seniora (Previously hated and dubbed MR. TVA in reference to value added taxes and all taxes as a matter of fact) blesses it “for the memory of my good friend Rafiq el Harriri. Soon we will enter the World Trade Organization to bless Rafiq Harriri’s memory!!!
Yet, this philosophy allowed the Government to gain recharged support from the International Community every time one of their politicians die to the extent Nasrallah himself complaint that the International Community gave the government too much support to be ‘simply ousted’.
Again, for respecting the dead people, cherish their ideas and not inflate them for private uses.