Alerts, News and Background from Lebanon
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Edited by Inga Schei and Lokman Slim
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May 26, 2013
“Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother?”
Quran, al-Hujurat 49:12

  Arabic Calligraphy of the verse cited above
In general, dealing with death is a tricky issue. But dealing with the deaths associated with an organization you oppose staunchly because of its ideology, ethics, politics, alliances and practices is far more challenging. This is especially true when the individuals involved are dying outside their country while supporting a dictatorial regime bent on suppressing the legitimate desire of a people to live in dignity and freedom. Of course, it is not particularly difficult to guess that we are referring to Hezbollah, especially since the organization's military involvement in Syria has taken such a dramatic turn—and garnered such tremendous media exposure—because of the battle for Qusayr.

Newspapers, websites and media outlets of every type are literally racing each other to discover and announce the latest deaths among the fighters sent to Syria by Hezbollah. ShiaWatch has also sought to gather such information, primarily but not exclusively from open sources, and interpret it relative to factors including geography, age and frequency. But the approach we take to this work also involves observing the partisanship demonstrated by the many media outlets, and in particular taking note of the schadenfreude being woven into this macabre competition by Arabic and non-Arabic anti-Hezbollah media outlets.

Much to Lebanon's detriment, the trivial yet vengeful tone of these reports is coupled with between-the-lines insinuations that these casualties will advance some domestic agenda. To be sure, the deaths we are just now learning about are not disassociated from the domestic and regional context. Yet if those horrendous casualties do indeed contribute anything, it will be that they exacerbate the various latent and/or active conflicts. Ultimately, that "contribution" will make it even more likely that the sparks of discord could burst instantly into a roaring fire.

Despite our overt opposition to Hezbollah, we at ShiaWatch realize that covering this chapter of the war in Syria may cause us to be regarded as “flesh eaters.” Nevertheless, we will continue to publish additional literature about this disheartening topic because we do not view these casualties—the dead, the wounded and the missing—only as "Hezbollah fighters." Instead, we view these Lebanese Shia "boys," whose involvement in the Syrian war is based on orders given by Hezbollah, as evidence of the terribly dysfunctional relationship between Lebanon's Shia community and its other communities. They also offer mute testimony to the contentious relations among elements of the Lebanese and Syrian populations, which represent collectively a complex and convoluted issue which Lebanon's Shia community must manage—regardless of Hezbollah’s future.

The pages that follow contain the names of 115 “boys” who were killed because Hezbollah, in advancing its agenda as well as that of its regional patrons, ordered them to fight in Syria. While this number may seem insignificant compared to the tens of thousands of Syrians who have perished since the revolution began, the reality is that the results of this violence defy all bureaucratic efforts to quantify that sad outcome. Irrespective of their affiliation, and from a very down-to-earth human but particularly Lebanese perspective, we believe these unfortunate hundred Lebanese, to say nothing of all the other young Lebanese who have gone to join the fight in Syria, deserve to be mourned rather than celebrated.

Please see the attached PDF or our 'On the Table' section "The Sentinels of the Sitt" for the list of deceased. 
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