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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Hours in the Company of ’110’

It was not the first time, nor was it the last either; however, it was the longest. It took place during a sad occasion: the martyrdom of Jihad Mughniyeh.
Hours in the Company of ’110’
Four days in the company of “110” – one of his secret names; still he loved best to be called “Sayyed Mustafa”.
He welcomes you as he welcomes everyone he knows. He wears a smile (while) putting his palms on cheeks, then gives a kiss and an embrace. He says a couple of words of love in the coastal colloquial tongue like that of the residents of Ghoubairi which literary stands for: “May you bury me, dear love!”
He was wearing black during these days. His elegance was wrapped by the fragrance dominating the air. He gets you closer to him, strokes with his palm your palm or shoulder. You are now behind the screen separating him from the eyes of the camera. You are next to a person who was in the bosom of death since he was six years old.
Then the doctor announced his death to his mother only to return to life within several minutes.

He says: “I want to blame you for covering events without a shield and a helmet”. He does not give you a chance: “I have enough troubles. You so and so! Get him a shield of mine”.
He asks you about the minute details. He liked these minute details. Though devils haunt him, he was quite good at settling them in his own way. With a look at times, he tries to hide behind eyeglasses that camouflage the blueness of his eyes which move around the hall with an eyebrow-raise and observe everything, even the coffee pot. Legitimate treason betrays him as his eyes lie on an old man from the days of “Ain Delbe” – his most loved place. A hunchbacked man over sixty calls him out. He asks him about the past, the present, and the future.
Minutes later, he returns to you saying: “He was one of the first men who held arms.” I ask him: “Do you still love Ain Delbe?” He answers: “From there we got started. From there, from Borj Barajineh we went to Khalde.” You hesitate in asking him about the Marines and the Multinational troops. He mentions Khalde before any other name. Perhaps the secret is because that place is linked to his injury.
Even here he was dragging you unintentionally to what he is skilled in: mixing the sight and the hearing as he wishes, exactly as he did in the military media. Your mind interprets that he was injured in Khalde. Still from the very beginning of the consolation session to the very end, he stands to observe his duty. It is not a story of prejudice. This is how this man is. He is a will that walks with much uproar most of the times. No doubt he loved riding high speed motorcycles.
His will searches for its like. He tells me: “Abu Issa Al Iqleem (who was martyred in the same raid that led to the martyrdom of Jihad Moghniyeh) is the Iqleem. When you talk about the Iqleem and its nature, you would be talking about men. We were together in almost all the military operations in the South. In Syria too we were together since the very first days”. Here I seize the opportunity to ask him a question: “Talking about the South, aren’t you the author of the term ‘The war of Minds’?” His smile is not that of self-esteem; it is more of the smile of someone trying to prepare an answer that includes an event as is his habit.
He says: “There is a long story behind this term.” Still there is something that attracts him here – a turning point that he refers to whenever talking about professional work – Ansaria Operation – 1997. He says: “Listen my dear! If you want to know about the war of minds, go back to Ansaria. May Allah bless His Eminence the Sayyed. He revealed something. But to this day, the whole story was never told. Hajj Imad (May Allah have mercy on him) and I prepared for this operation”.
He becomes silent. He closes his lips. It is no good to try to make him open them again. You recall what is said that he sewed his lips while in prison in Kuwait so that he wouldn’t give out information.
He forces you to go further. The battle between good and evil does not come to an end. He recalls it in everything, even in the “Godfather” movie and in some of its characters. I couldn’t muster my courage to ask him about the conclusion he drew from it. I was about to ask him about the International Tribunal, but that was interrupted by a new group of consolers headed by a senior personality from the March 14 Bloc. He draws a smile on his face but not in his heart. That personality knew him and called him saying: “Our consolations, O Sayyed!” I found out that there is no need to waste these minutes. Still a foreign delegation proceeds. I tried to listen in on the sound English. The Sayyed studied in the American University of Beirut, and he talked English fluently.
Then you will be stuck in a battle between the “Zulfiqar” and the “Badreddine” in him. It’s not sound that they are the same.
To witness the “Zulfiqar” aspect in him, it is enough to see his entrance to the gathering place. Then all sounds were silenced. You pause at his combination of security and military. He adores the latter including power parades, the oath, the beating of drums, equipping the self-(sacrificing) martyrs, the giant posters, the military march, the fully-fledged military costumes…But all of this does not come at the expense of the former in which he was creative to the extent of professionalism.
The “Badreddine” side in him is manifested in “where is so and so?” “How is such and such doing?” At lunch time, he says “Everyone must eat”, starting with the fighters. Here you believe what was said that once he made a tour to several leaderships at the military posts in the South. At Iftar time, he called them for a meal prepared from Tuna and smashed potatoes. “The guards and the fighters had to start first”. This is a habit of his (during his time) in prison in Kuwait, where he was nicknamed “Kilqass”. There he stole the hearts of everyone starting with his jailer.
During the lamentation council, he was overtaken by his tears. He cries with his eyes wide open. His hands are on his cheeks while sitting alone in the corner, he is “Sayyed Mustafa”. In a while he will make an address to thank those who consoled him for his affliction. He recalls a poem for the Egyptian Poet Martyr Hachem Rifai under the title: (The Mother of the Martyr Lullabies her Baby to Bed):
O my baby! Sleep in this cradle guarded by hope
My eyes are sleepless for pains that grow at night
I am singing my sad song, and I am about to cry
But I raise my hands to the skies to mend the pace of the skies
Again the “Zulfiqar” in him overpowers. He answers with a poem of pride for the Libyan poet Amro Khalifa Nami:
In a procession for the callers towards righteousness we follow them
On the path of guidance which we founded
On both its sides is our resting place
And our skulls form its pillars
O mother! Do not have fear, for Allah is the Guard
We are moving on a path we have excelled in
On the funeral of “Sayyed Mustafa”, I asked his pals who attended: Can you describe him in one single word?

Puzzled, they all said: “Zulfiqar… in a word?” The only answer was loud cries from an old man he introduced me to from the days of Ain Delbe.
Source: Al-Akhbar, Translated and Edited by website team
17-05-2016 | 10:40

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