There are those whose passing makes them heroes, because some wrongfully believe that in respecting death, there is a duty to bury all that was shameful and negative and remember only what was good and virtuous about them, no matter how deceitful this memory made be. But there are others whose passing cements their status as heroes, not only because we have no choice but to remember and appreciate the genuine heroism they displayed during their lifetime, but because in their passing, we lament how few of them are left, to carry on the fight as they did.
Ghazi Aad was one of these heroes, the genuine type of heroes, a selfless fighter in his lifetime, whom those who knew him and those who didn’t will miss him likewise, as one of the most important causes in Lebanon’s recent history loses its most fervent fighter (in addition to the concerned families themselves, of course).
With the passing of Ghazi Aad, the cause of Lebanon’s political prisoners, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared loses one of its greatest. Ghazi Aad not only dared to show the pictures and physically carry the files of the disappeared when he started his fight over 15 years ago, but he dared listen to their stories – told by their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – at a time when even listening could be considered a crime. And nothing stopped him, neither the fear of reprisal or detention, nor the limitations of his physical disabilities, not even the lies and denials of the Lebanese political class. A political class, many members of which are personally responsible for these disappearances, who have information about the disappeared, or at least who could directly put policies into place to bring answers to the families of the disappeared and their loved ones and close this dark chapter in Lebanon’s history for good. A rotten and criminal political class that was intimidated by Aad’s selflessness, patience and perseverance. He was a hero because he had the courage to look them in the eye and call them to account. He was a fighter because he never tired in what he did to bring answers and closure to thousands of families who were very close to losing hope.
I only meet Ghazi Aad briefly but that doesn’t matter. He will be missed by those who knew him and those who didn’t, for fighting for those who had no more energy to fight and speak for those whose voices were no longer heard. He was a hero and if only there were more like him in this hopeless country, justice would be a little more just and humanity a little more humane.
Ghazi, I know that sadly now, where you peacefully rest, you will find many of those you fought so hard to find. Tell their families and loved ones here on earth that they are with you, safe, in peace and not suffering any longer, so that their loved ones may also find some of the peace they desperately long for. For the rest, someone else will have to keep up the fight in your place…
Farewell Ghazi Aad
Note: Keeping up the fight is keeping the cause alive and never forgetting. For more on this tragic cause, you can refer to previous posts from Eye on the East including Prisoners to Oblivion I (2012) and Prisoners to Oblivion II (2015). More recently, Waiting for George, (2016) a fictional short story based on the tragic true stories of the disappeared.