In Memory of A Hero
Yesterday, and as the Secretary General of the Arab League was meeting with Syria’s chief tormentor, regime thugs visited the Matar family in Damascus Suburb with the body of their twenty six (26) year old son Ghiath. Along with the body, it was reported; the thugs handed the family their son’s larynx telling them, amidst their cries to make shawarma out of it.
I am a grown man, and I don’t believe that men should not cry, for I do cry, sometimes even in sad or romantic movie. But since yesterday, my tears are bitter. And as I write these words, heavy rain falls where I live, and while I wonder if nature is crying for the brave youths of Syria, my tears race with the drops of rain and Ghiath’s beautiful smile seemingly wanting to re-assure me, I hear a voice I never heard before … “common old man, don’t cry….. I am but one of thousands and you will be free”.
Ghiath was a leader in the Syrian youth peaceful movement. He was among those who demonstrated unparalleled creativity in non-violent resistance as he and his friends tried to greet those charged with suppressing them with flowers and bottles of water in the heat of Syrian summer. He was waiting for his first daughter when the hyenas kidnapped him after luring him with a trap turning his generosity and chivalry against him as he answered an apparent SOS call from a friend. Within three days of his arrest, this strong young man was dead because of torture inflicted by the Assad mafia hyenas.
Have words been invented to describe the level of atrocious hate this regime has for its own people? Is their mutilation of the young bodies a manifestation of the rot that eats them? Is it fear that moves them? Is hatred? is it revenge? Or is it simply a death wish in need of an answer?
Some may want to believe that martyrs will be happy in heaven, I think more of the living, the mother awaiting her son, the young wife longing for the strong arms of her handsome husband, the daughter who they want to have grow knowing the name and face for the man responsible for her not enjoying the cuddling of her father, his guiding words, and not holding his finger with her entire hand as she walks next to him in the market place. Curse the murderers, curse them for eternity.
I leave you with what is being passed as to Ghiath’s last will and testament to his friends, while I was translating his words, my warm tears of cold rage raced along with my heart, my arms became week and my fingers felt inept to write appropriate words. I am now dreaming that my words would turn into winds that blows the face of Syria and that cleans, once and for all, the rubbish called the Assad regime, and all those whose moral compass is pointing into a direction of inhumanity, savagery, and hate.
Translation of Ghiath Matar’s Last Will
Praise Be to Allah, prayers, and peace to our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions
My free and young brothers of the revolution, you who have shared with me the path to freedom during days that were the most beautiful days of my life
If words of my martyrdom pain you, be comforted in the knowledge that I have now simultaneously attained both happiness and freedom. I wish if I can come back to life so that I can once more carry the banner of justice, dignity, and freedom and to be martyred once again…. Don’t think they have finished me off with the bullet they fired.
By God, I have triumphed and I have aided my cause every moment I came out to the streets to say no to injustice and tyranny, Yes to freedom, justice and dignity
And my will to you to remain true to the principle we went out for, and to work toward achieving all the slogans we raised until they become a living reality, to persevere in your courage no matter how they tried to get you of to throw your ranks into disarray, don’t allow them to change you, don’t cheapen my blood, and the blood of the martyrs who gave their souls for a free Syria, don’t sell our sacrifices for any price. Don’t dialog with your executioners but wrest your rights from them with your determination to achieve victory.
I have seen freedom right at the gates, I’ve seen it very close to me and to you
Every time we went out, when our chants shook the earth, and instill terror in the hearts of cowards, I sow freedom approaching and victory being achieved … From my world, I now see it approaching nearer to you. Do persevere for victory is but one extra hour of perseverance.
Do not despair even if the whole world fought you and denied you. Do not stop even if the repelled you and erected barriers and obstacles in your ranks, do not you turn back or they will get you, destroy you, and with you destroy the dream. Do not surrender for by that you sell our precious blood, and all of the efforts we made for a free dignified homeland.
Remember me when the shouts tower, when the women ululate at the wedding ceremony of martyrdom, and whenever a demand of ours is achieved along the way to freedom. Remember me when you celebrate the fall of the regime and the liberation of our homeland from the abusers. Remember me every time you plant a Jasmine sapling in Syrian soil, every time you lay a brick in a building, and when you see the future in the eyes of children, and remember that I gave my soul and my blood for that moment.
May God countenance you and bless you with steadfastness, victory will be ours at your hands, O heroes
Syrian Citizen Ghiath Matar
UPDATES (September 18, 2011)
The day before they received the body, Mattar’s father was taken to Syrian security forces and asked to sign a document saying that Mattar was attacked by “armed gangs,” the friend said. The father was told that his son would be freed if he signed that document. (From CNN)
Thousands of security agents and army personnel were deployed in order to prevent a large funeral for Ghiath Matar from forming.
On September 11, 2011, Ambassadors from western countries and from the (USA, France, Denmark, Japan, and Germany, and EU representative) attended the wake of Ghiath Matar. Syrian security forces raided the wake and violently disbanded the ceremony right after departure of the Ambassadors.
On the 16th of September, regime goons painted graffiti on Ghiath’s family home denouncing them for receiving the US Ambassador.
The Syrian TV and its propaganda partners (al-Dunya Channel) continue to harass the peaceful activist’s family in order to give an interview giving deceitful story about Ghiath’s death.
Concerns about the safety of Ghiath’s friends and fellow activists who were arrested with him continue. This includes Yahia Shorbaji, his good friend and partner in non-violent activism.
Ghiath is not the first peaceful activist to be martyred by the Assad regime goons in detention. Earlier in August, Amnesty International issued a report ” Deadly Detention” documenting at least 88 deaths under torture since the start of the Syrian Revolution. Activists say the real number is far larger than that.