On July 22, Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst and professor, wrote an article in the Gulf News, titled "Women of Valor," in which he questioned the value of dying for your country. Specifically, Mr. Moubayed was undermining the contribution to their nation of the likes of Sanaa Mahaidly and Dalal Moughrabi, the two martyrs who died fighting the Jewish occupation of our land. Mr. Moubayed's analysis was that these were bright young ladies, with their whole future ahead of them, who could have become gifted intellectuals and thus contributed more to their nation by undertaking various intellectual and academic activities. Therefore, according to Mr. Moubayed, living for your country is better than dying for your country.
With all due respect to Sami Moubayed as a political analyst, I believe that his understanding of life and death is completely lacking. First, all nations are made up of individuals who are able to contribute to the advancement and development of their respective nations. We are all productive potentialities endowed with the capacity and duty to enrich our nation in our own respective ways. The nation is thus made up of doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, farmers, workers, etc., each of which is able to contribute to the betterment of the nation based on their specific individual ablities, talents, strengths, weaknesses, etc. However, the nation is also in need of fighters; those who are willing to risk their lives, or even give up their lives, for the sake of defending their homeland and protecting the national rights of their people as a whole.
From here, we understand that the life of the nation is more precious than the life of individuals. That is not to say that each individual life is not valuable in its own right. Rather, the continued life of the nation overrides and takes precedence over the idea of individual self-preservation. For this reason, numerous individuals throughout history have willingly sacrificed their individual selves for the sake of their respective nations as a whole. If we are to engage in an analysis of what each of these individuals could have contributed to their nation were they to remain alive, we would be undertaking a futile exercise that completely misses the basis of such acts of selflessness. It is not that these individuals do not value their lives, nor is it that they have nothing to offer to their nations while living, but rather they understood that the continued life and liberty of their nation was in danger and they viewed national life as more important than their individual lives.
Our nation is today divided, fragmented, and many portions of it are occupied by foreigners. More importantly, its continued life is under constant threat from its enemies who are working day and night to subjugate it. In such a state, the nation cannot meet its vast potential, as it is broken and its resources are dispersed. Our nation is currently neither free, nor sovereign, nor independent, because its destiny is controlled by foreign will, it is not allowed to act freely in betterment of itself, and its right over its land has been completely stripped from it. As such, the nation's very existence is threatened, and its life, in all its true meaning, has been stolen from it. In such a situation, it is natural that individuals within the nation would rise to defend their land and protect their nation's life. Such people understand that life is not worth living if it is empty of honor and dignity. That is, they realize that individual life means nothing when the nation as a whole is reduced to mere existence.
It is worth clarifying here the difference between living and existing. Life is a mere stand of dignity. That is, one cannot live unless they are enshrined in glory, dignity, and honor. And whereas life is not possible without glory, mere existence does not differentiate between glory and humiliation. Therefore, while the nation can exist in a state of enslavement and humiliation, it can only live in a state of glory; a state where it controls its own destiny, is in full possession of all its rights, and is occupying its rightful place among the nations. Only then can our nation truly be living in a meaningful sense.
It is with this understanding that our brave compatriots go into battle, insisting on defending their nation's honor. They understand that their individual lives do not take priority when their nation is divided, occupied, and subjected to persecution and oppression. And what people mistakenly conclude, is that these people do not love life, when in fact these are the very individuals who truly love life. But loving life to them is not a cliche. They love life because they love freedom. They would love nothing more than to see their nation living in freedom and their people freely acting for the betterment of their nation. And because they love life, within its true meaning, they also embrace death when death is a way to life. That is, they will gladly give up their individual lives if this leads to the life and prosperity of their nation. Therefore, rather than belittle and demean the actions of courageous, honorable figures such as Sanaa Mahaidly and Dalal Moughrabi, our intellectuals, including Sami Moubayed, should be honoring them and commemorating their sacrifices in a respectful manner.