Syrian Martyrs Write Stories of Glory and Honour

Today, the Syrian people mark Martyrs’ Day with joy and pride in the landslide victories and achievements made by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism and western states which support it. Inspired by the great meanings and sublime values of Martyrs' Day, Syrian people and army are following in the footsteps of their fathers and forefathers defying new forms of terrorism, especially the economic terrorism, represented by the  unfair sanctions and the coercive unilateral measures imposed on the Syrian people with the aim of making them succumb to the American Zionist diktat. Inspired by the great valiant deeds and heroic steadfastness of Syrian martyrs, Syrian people will be able to defeat the new American Zionist aggression and the economic embargo imposed on Syria.

Today, we  also pay tribute to the families of martyrs who have sacrificed their beloved sons to maintain the country’s steadfastness and defend its sovereignty in the face of enemies. The Syrians, on this occasion, recall the great values of martyrdom and the heroic sacrifices of the army and armed forces, and stress their support and standing by the Syrian army till final victory and full eradication of all forms terrorism are achieved .

More than 100 years ago, the Syrians revolted against the tyranny of 400 years of Ottoman occupation, with the occupiers using all forms of crimes to terror and deter the Syrians from fulfilling their goals in freedom and independence. Since the Othman Empire had lost the World War I, it adopted a policy to oppress and replace all forms of nationalism, even if that meant annihilation of a number of the region’s peoples. Yet, the Syrians remained firm in their adherence to their identity, language and civilization, with an increased awareness on the importance of culture and nationalism and more secret meetings and forums to discuss methods of countering and overcoming occupation and its oppressive policies.

The story of the Martyrs Day dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when Arab political figures and intellectuals started speaking of Arab nationalism. The Arabs' demands were of a reformist nature, limited  to autonomy, use of Arabic in education, and changes in conscription in the Ottoman Empire in peace time for Arab conscripts that allowed local service in the Ottoman army. The Arab calls for independence reached peak with the holding of Arab Conference in Paris, 1913 under the leadership of intellectual Abdul Hamid al-Zahrawi. They produced a set of demands for greater autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. However, the Ottoman authorities launched a wide scale arrest campaign against Arab intellectuals and people turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the Arab legitimate demands.

On May 6, 1916, Jamal Pasha publicly executed twenty-one Arab intellectuals and politicians simultaneously in Damascus and Beirut for alleged anti-Ottoman activities. The date, May 6, is commemorated annually in both countries as Martyrs' Day. Since then, Al-Marja Square began to be known as Martyrs Square in memory of martyrs who are the noblest of mankind and the most generous people. However, Jamal Pasha’s oppression did not force the Arab people to halt their unabated resistance to the Ottomans and they pressed ahead with their struggle until they forced the Ottomans out of their homeland ending a four century occupation. Nevertheless, the Arabs fell under a new conspiracy represented by the ill-famed Sykes-Picot Accord which divided the Arab countries between Britain and France as if they were their inheritance. Once again, the Arab people started a relentless struggle until they won independence.

Martyrs Day is a call for going forward in fighting against aggression and dangers facing the homeland. Syrians are offering sacrifices in their fight against terrorism in all its forms.  The path of martyrdom is the only one to have victory and the Syrian army is the hope for liberation. As the war on Syria entered its eighth year, the 6th of May brings to mind stories of heroism, glory, commitment and all sacrifices that the Syrians have made to defend the independence of their homeland and its territorial integrity over the years.

Martyrs’ Day is an occasion for inspiring the meaning of sacrifices and continuing the march of struggle for liberating the occupied Syrian Golan, achieving new victories, eliminating terrorism and restoring security and stability to all Syrian areas. Martyrs’ Day is also an occasion to promote the culture of resistance and the values of martyrdom and to strengthen the confidence in the Arab fighters away from frustration and despair.