Syrian Women for Human Development
Experts of Death Documentation Like Us Do not Cry
Razan Zaitouneh, April 22, 2012
I need to watch more videos for the martyrs to be sure of the martyr’s name and the details of his martyrdom; tens of videos daily; and during the periodical review, I watch hundreds in the few hours of the day. The average for watching each video is one minute. Within an hour, sixty bodies could be watched, unless the videos were for mass murders, then the number is multiplied.
Body after body: some are in shrouds, whereas others are still covered with their wounds and blood. Some faces seem to be panicked and shocked: Is this you, Death? Other faces look asleep for the absolute tranquility appearing on their features… Some are beautiful with soft skin and little primed mouths and a ghost of a smart smile. The martyred children and their eternal tampering with our souls.
The female martyrs are the less present on videos. You need to draw the martyr’s features in your imagination. The female martyrs leave in silence on YouTube. Most of the time, we cannot attend the rituals of pain in the first moments of their absence.
But the hardest videos are for the martyrs in their death throes. In such cases, you find yourself obliged to respect their moments and not to move on to another video or to a new documentation. You have to hold the hand of this person suffering in front of you on the computer’s screen, to look deeply in their eyes even if the pain is pulling out your eyes, and to hear their final whispers. They might say something in the language of the space lying between life and death. They might be sending an apology to a lover or a word of longing to a mother, or they might only be singing… You just want to listen, but the people surrounding the suffering body don’t give a chance to receive their message. The scream around the injured: say the credo, say the credo… If I were in their place, I would probably wish to be told that I would live longer and longer, to close my eyes on a beautiful hope that I would be back to my beloved ones, or to be hugged by someone who would wipe my head silently in my last moments.