View Full Version : Debate on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV: The Language of Martyrdom

03-08-2010, 09:34 PM
The following are excerpts from a TV debate on martyrdom, featuring former Lebanese minister Elie Al-Firzli, a Greek Orthodox, and Syrian journalist and researcher Imad Fawzi Shueibi. The debate aired on Al-Manar TV on February 17, 2010.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2408.htm.

For more on Al-Manar TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/116.htm.

Former Lebanese minister Elie Al-Firzli: "Religious ideology, the doctrine of faith, the yearning for martyrdom... I cannot see any justification for this longing – and to such an extent – other than the belief in a future in a world other than this. The yearning for martyrdom was one of the reasons for the qualitative leap in the conflict with the Israeli enemy."

Syrian journalist and researcher Imad Fawzi Shueibi: "This is an important aspect. In this context, I could say that the language of martyrdom is the Marseillaise of our nation at this stage. I say Marseillaise, but I don't want to be criticized for borrowing the anthem of the French revolution. I use this term metaphorically. 'Allah Akbar' was the Marseillaise of the Arabs in 1956..."

Elie Al-Firzli: '"Allah Akbar' was the Marseillaise of all the Arab conquests.


"We have to believe that all the blood that is being shed in the name of martyrdom for the sake of the great victory is the gateway to the true life – the gateway to a life of glory, nobility, and honor.

"For example... I don't want to get into a theological discussion, but our Lord Jesus, in his human aspect – we believe that he has two natures... In his human aspect, it was he who formed the passage from life in this world to life in the world to come, through the passageway of death. The road to life passes through death. When we talk about the homeland and about honor and glory, the way to achieve them is through martyrdom."


03-09-2010, 02:24 PM
I have a problem with those who specifically seek martyrdom, whether they are muslim or christian. Some people get martyred for obeying God. They did not seek their own deaths, however. Christians who fought the Nazis and died are a good example of that kind of martyr. They were willing to forfeit their lives if necessary, but they didn't want to die if they didn't have to die.

I know it's a muslim news article and all, but I don't like seeing the word martyr applied to terrorists. You're not a martyr if you bring on the event that kills you!

03-09-2010, 04:39 PM
Concerning Christian Martyrdom.

From the Martyrdom of Polycarp

Why We Don't Encourage Voluntary Martyrdom

By the way, when Quintus the Phrygian handed himself over for martyrdom with some others, the Proconsul persuaded them to take the oath and sacrifice. This is why we do not approve of voluntary martyrdom, something the Gospel does not teach us to do.

Tertullian on Christian Martyrdom in a document to the ruling Roman government.

“In that case,” you say, “why do you complain about being persecuted? You should be grateful to us for giving you the sufferings you want.” Well, it is quite true that it is our desire to suffer, but in the same way that a soldier longs for war. Of course, no one suffers willingly, since suffering involves fear and danger. But we are like those who object to the conflict, but fight with all our strength, and when victorious rejoice in the battle, because they reap from it glory and spoil. It is our battle to be summoned to your courts and, in fear of execution, to fight there for the truth. But the battle is won when the goal of the struggle is reached. This victory of ours gives us the glory of pleasing God, and the spoil of eternal life. But, you say, we are vanquished. Yes, when we have obtained our wishes. Therefore we conquer in dying; we seize the victory in the very moment that we are overcome. Bound to a stake, we are burned on a heap of wood. This is the attitude in which we conquer, it is our victory robe, it is our triumphal entry. This attitude does not please those whom we overcome. Because of it, we are counted a desperate, reckless race. But the very desperation and recklessness you object to in us, you exalt among yourselves as a standard of virtue in the cause of glory and of fame. Mucius of his own will left his right hand on the altar. What sublimity of mind! Empedocles gave his whole body at Catana to the fires of Etna. What resolution! The founder of Carthage gave herself away in second marriage to the funeral pile. What a noble witness of her chastity! …

This is a far cry from the Muslim concept of martyrdom/murder which involved taking the lives of as many non-combatants a possible.