45. The number means utterly nothing, and I’m sad to say that even after today this number will still mean nothing. We’re a country that never learned and will never learn. It’s just a bomb. It will always be just a bomb.
We call them martyrs. But they did not choose to die that way, burned bodies melting on the tarmac of a neighborhood they called home, their only fault was to live in an area that demographics and politics dictated would be related to this faction or the other.
We call them martyrs, because it’s easier to lump them under one title, to pretend they’re all the same, to pretend that knowing their names is not important, to make it easier for us to comprehend. We call them martyrs to dehumanize them, even more than the dehumanization that occurs with the politicization of those victims that’s contingent upon the area targeted.
But they are people. And they are somebody’s loved ones. And there are families tonight that were whole and complete a few hours ago, and they are sitting now maimed and shattered because of cowards, of abominations that dare to call themselves human beings.
Tonight, politics are irrelevant. Tonight is about the people and this country whose people are dying, and burning, and whose lives are being lost for absolutely no purpose.
Tonight, Haidar lost his mother and father. Shawki Droubi and Khodr Aleddine, a nurse, were lost to their families. Hussein Mostapha passed away with his wife, leaving their son behind. Samer, a Syrian father of two who fled horrors in his country, was killed in what he had feared back home, and Hussein, a Palestinian man whose family sought refuge here, also passed away. Alaa Awad, a third year law student, was also among the victims. Rawan Awad was a school teacher. Hanady Joumaa, Bilal Hammoud, Ahmad Awwada, Rawan Atwi were among the victims too.
They are not nameless.
45 is a number that could have been much, much higher if it weren’t for the bravery and courage of one man named Adel Termos, a father of two. When the first suicide bomber committed the first terrorist attack, Adel saw the second one approaching the crowds gathering outside the targeted mosque.
He ran at him and tackled him, causing the second terrorist to self-detonate. Tonight, Adelis no longer of this world, but his legacy will live on for years, and the repercussions of his heroism will become a tale to tell: Adel is the reason we are not talking about fatalities in the three digits today, he is the reason some families still have their sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, he is a Lebanese hero whose name should be front and center in every single outlet.
Adel’s story holds striking resemblance to that of Abou Ali Issa who did the same thing when his city Tripoli was attacked earlier this year. The parallelism is horrifying. It also shows how this country is always going in circles: terrorists attack, people die, heroes emerge, and all is forgotten in a week or a month. The politics maybe change, but with so many victims dying for so little, petty politics become irrelevant.
May all the victims of tonight’s terrorism rest in peace.