SHAFAQNA – How far have we fallen if not even the life of a child can motivate us to speak truth in the face of tyranny? Who are we if not silent partners if we remain bound by our fears? What is left of our morals and ethics if cowardice becomes the banner we hide under, for speaking up could means sacrificing all?
Have we forgotten in our arrogance the duty we have to our past, and the lessons we owe our future?
Have we all become so fickle that we have sealed off our ears and hearts to the cries of the innocent? Have we forgotten as a nation what God taught us: “Fear the prayer of the oppressed!”
“Fear the prayer of the oppressed …” Was it not our Prophet who called on us to hold on to the rope of Allah, so that we would not disunite?
Was it not our Imams who urged us time and time again, through their teachings, and their sacrifices that there is no better glory and religious excellence but when one defies injustice to stand for the innocent, regardless of who they are, and their fashion of prayers?
Today our youths cry out from under the vengeful blade of Saudi Arabia, and we have not spoken a storm to answer their prayers.
Today our sons await death for their pledge was to a House different from that of Al-Saud, and we have yet to raise our banner.
Today our pledge is being tested, and we have YET to speak our allegiance.
Will we be of those who do not follow?
Will be of those of who do not answer?
Will we abandon as others have abandon before, and allow once more for the blood of the innocent to be spilled and shamed to be ours?
As our boys sit in prison, as hope ebbs away for too few have spoken of their behalf demanding that they’d be let go, our boys face death …. We all face eternal shame!
For all the sorrow their death would bring should the kingdom be in fact so cruel, their loved ones would live on knowing that they are now among the blessed ones – but what of us? What of all of us, who, for a lack of courage, empathy or even time failed to act on their behalf?
We are what we do, not who we say we are!
Our worth will be ultimately defined by our ability to rise a tower against a tyranny, not because victory is certain or easy, but because doing otherwise would equate to reneging our pledge. Did we really think that after being given the Truth we would not be tested on it?
Do you not hear today in the cries of our youths, the same cry which rose over the plain of Karbala?
Now that Yazid has returned will we deny the grace of our Lady Zaynab when she proclaimed her lineage in the face of his abomination, and from her lips made a tyrant crumble?
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr’s very life depends on our ability to speak louder than the despotism of the House of Saud.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr’s freedom sits maybe on the edge of a knife, but we are the prison if we do not clamour for his immediate release.
Silence can no longer rules, not when it means complicity to murder, not when it means sacrificing our children to absolute radicalism.
“Fear the prayer of the oppressed!”
Fear the prayer of the oppressed indeed for they will testify of the ignominy of despots. But as you ponder over those words remember too our Imam’s warning:
“Those who are silent when others are oppressed, are guilty of oppression themselves” – Imam Hussain.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies