Very powerful speech in which Seyyed Nasrallah talks candidly about the responsibility of ordinary Muslims around th world towards the slaughter in Gaza today. With the start of Muharram he frames the struggle in Gaza in the context of Kerbala and the sacrifice on Ashura, every follower of Imam Hussain (AS) must see this. Full translated text and live translated video is included as well as a link to the original arabic video of the speech.
Nasrallah - The Gaza solution lies in Egypt
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, (trans. PressTV) 28 December 2008
The Secretary General of Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, addressed a crowd of Lebanese supporters in a videoconference on December 28, 2008. The following is the text of his speech:
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Thanks and praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the world, peace and prayers be to the seal of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad, his infallible progeny, his chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers....
Brothers and sisters,
It is with great misfortune that we begin the new Islamic year and the Christian Gregorian year at a time when we are seeing a huge humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, which has led to the death, martyrdom and injury of countless people.
The number of the martyrs has now increased to over 300 and the number of those injured has risen to over 1,000 in the Gaza Strip, which is under siege, isolated and oppressed. Yet Gaza resists with perseverance.
Today, we need not speak about examples of history as we are witnessing the model of a new Karbala. Today, moment to moment of our lives has become the repetition of the tragedy of Karbala. What is taking place today helps us better understand what happened in the past.
Karbala's reality is about a handful of faithful, non-yielding believers, who held on to their dignity and stood up for the rights of their Ummah and refused to be humiliated and yield to tyranny. Those believers were made to choose between humiliation and unequal confrontation that may lead to martyrdom...and so they chose martyrdom.
This group of believers after being subjected to hunger, thirst, intimidation and threats, came under attack, yet did not retreat. The martyrs then fell one after the other. Is this not what happened to Imam Hossein (PBUH) in Karbala?
It was in Karbala that Imam Hussein (PBUH) set an example and laid the foundation for this Islamic, humanitarian school of thought. Throughout history the followers of this school have never parted with a well-known saying by the Imam. This saying is especially associated with the tenth day of Muharram.
"Verily, that claimer, the son of a claimer, [pointing to 'Ubaidullah Bin Zyiad] is overwhelmed by shame and disgrace! He has placed us between two choices, to either fight in a disproportionate confrontation or a humiliating and degrading surrender."
Hossein (PBUH) made his choice: "And how far disgrace is from us! Allah refuses us the life of disgrace, His Messenger and believers do too."
Why did he declare "And how far disgrace is from us", Why did he say "we shall never be disgraced?"
It was not an emotional outburst! The matter was rather one of humanitarian, ideological spiritual, religious and humane commitment springing from human values, dignity and human rights. As Hossein (PBUH) later tells us "...Allah refuses us the life of disgrace, His Messenger and believers do too. Indeed, proud, exalted and lofty spirits will never prefer to obey the vile people, rather than the death of the honorable ones."
This is the Hosseini-Mohammedan Prophetic school of Karbala. When man chooses the martyrdom of the honorable and the dignified over living the life of vile people, who have been deprived of their honor, dignity, rights and sanctities, man is actually acting in harmony with his innate nature, humanness, religion, Islam and his commitment.
Thus was the choice in Karbala. This was also the choice we made during the July 2006 war when you, the resistance community, and all who had embraced the resistance, were to choose between surrender and confrontation: either a humiliating surrender, in which you had to accept the conditions of America and Israel to end the war, or suffer destruction and massacres.
You chose to stand up and refuse disgrace regardless of the tens of thousands of homes destroyed and the hundreds of those martyrs and injured. You stood up against collusion, betrayal and disgrace for a dignified and honorable death instead.
Hence, some of you were martyred, yet with your martyrdom, you created the historic victory in Lebanon.
Despite the destruction of tens of thousands of your homes, the martyrdom of thousands of your people and the injury of your men, women and children and the small number of supporters by your side and despite facing conspiracies, it was with this Karbala mindset of Hossein (PBUH) that you rejected humiliation and shame and insisted on resistance.
The outcome was a victory of the blood over sword.
What is happening today in Gaza is not similar but identical to what happened in July of 2006.
As Lebanese, we can well understand what is happening in Gaza. It is the same as what happened here, the same choices, the same battle, the same conspiracies and God-willing there will have the same outcome.
When we look at the Gaza Strip, which is subjected to hunger and thirst and surrounded by fire and intimidation and gave martyrs and wounded by the hundreds yesterday, we find that its people remain patient and firm. They do not express weakness or frailty... We see the legitimate Prime Minister Ismail Hanieh coming out from under the rubble and fire to say "even if they wipe out Gaza completely, we will not surrender or back down, and we will preserve our dignity and our rights".
This is truly Karbala...when men facing fire day and night with the martyrs still being mourned, reject humiliation and shame.
Today, brothers and sisters, let me speak openly about certain aspects of this confrontation that I left unsaid in the July War. I well understand the situation faced by our brothers in Gaza. Their situation is more difficult than our situation [in the July War].
Therefore, they are more concerned about carefully considering and weighing what they say, but let me today call a spade a spade, come what may!
Today, we must express the truth loud and clear, so that the entire nation will become aware of its responsibility in the face of the ongoing situation.
Brothers and sisters,
In Gaza as in Lebanon, the situation is very clear. Let me describe what is happening clearly and explicitly.
It is clear that America and Israel are pursuing a project in the region that seeks to impose an unequal settlement on the rest of the Arab world. After Egypt and Jordan signed so-called peace treaties with the Israelis, only Palestine, Lebanon and Syria remain, and the Americans and Zionists now want to settle the issue according to their conditions.
They want Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians to obey and surrender to these conditions without having any other option.
To impose these conditions, Americans and Zionists are using force, pressure, blockade, internal strife, provocation of internal sedition among resistance movements, media, political and psychological warfare, assassinations and wars.
Their intention is to subdue those who have so far refused to yield to the will and conditions of America and Israel. Some Arab regimes have also been true accomplices in this project.
It is not true that there is Arab silence. We see help extended to Israel, I do not mean all Arabs or all Arab regimes; only those which have signed so-called peace treaties with Israel. Today they are helping Zionists politically, psychologically, socially, culturally and media-wise, through security and the military, on preparing the circumstances for the surrender of the resistors against the American-Zionist project in the Palestine issue.
So let us be very utterly clear. In our region, Arab countries are forging partnerships with the Israelis.
The 2006 war was waged against us in Lebanon with Arab consent and upon Arab request. The Israelis were crystal clear when they exposed this, and the Arab regimes cannot deny it because the Israelis may produce evidence of this collusion -- that they were contacted and asked to rid them (Arabs) of Hezbollah.
When the war started, they were comforting the Israelis after their initial failure in the first few days. Yet, those Arab regimes continued to demand Israel to eliminate of Hezbollah and that Israel sever Hezbollah's head.
The same thing is happening in Gaza today. Those same sides are asking Israel to eliminate Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the rest of the resistance factions to do away with and settle this battle once and for all. The truth is that they are helping the Zionist entity in this.
We have heard, and this is very unfortunate, that Israeli officials say that the magnitude of Arab support for the war on Gaza well exceed the support they extended for the Israeli war on Lebanon in July 2006.
This is the true picture. I can even tell you that some of these Arab regimes are the real cause behind the division among the Palestinians.
These regimes contributed, instigated, financed and armed, so that fighting is drawn to Palestinian factions, exactly what they did in Lebanon before.
The former [Lebanese] cabinet would not have dared to make such notorious decisions on May 5, had it not been for the encouragement and support of these Arab regimes. They wanted to drag Lebanon into the grip of a cruel internal war and internal sedition, but the performance of the opposition in those days made all their efforts in vein.
They are not neutral. They are convinced that what they do is right and have committed themselves to this project, which is very unfortunate to see.
When infighting and internal division in Palestine or Lebanon happens, these very same Arab regimes use this as an excuse for inaction and say "Well, look at the Palestinians, what are we to do when they are killing one another?" They only use this excuse to rid themselves of their responsibility toward Palestine and Lebanon.
No one asked these Arab regimes in the July 2006 war nor today in the Gaza Strip to fight for the Lebanese or the Palestinians but only to adopt a fair and appropriate political stand on media issues to say the least. Yet again, as in the July War, we find the Arab regimes hold the victims responsible.
Yesterday, we heard an Egyptian official holding the side that ended the Palestinian national dialogue efforts as responsible for what is now happening in Gaza. By 'side', he meant Hamas. He also said, that in the Egyptian view, since they had issued warnings, those who have not heeded their calls are responsible of what become of them.
How can one believe that such statements have come from an Arab person or official?
When at the height of the blockade on Gaza and when Gazans was suffering from hunger and illness, that same person said, "we will cripple the leg of anyone attempting to cross into Egypt!"
By God, brothers and sisters,
Allow me to draw on history. When we see such examples of officials, leaders and figures in the Arab world, I personally understand something in the words of Hossein (PBUH) who said, "Life under tyranny is death and under such circumstances martyrdom is freedom."
By God, there is no value for life under the control of such figures and leaders who plot and plan against their nation. When 300 people are massacred in Gaza in a matter of minutes, an Arab official holds the victims and martyrs responsible for the confrontation. It is as if they expected Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian factions in Gaza to consent to an extension of the blockade, the calm of the starvation and the calm of the humiliation that they were being subjected to for the past six months!
Today, we hear the same rhetoric we heard during the July 2006 war, an attempt to hold the resistance in Gaza responsible for the war and its consequences. This is shameful and unfortunate.
Some Arab satellite channels, which may as well be called Hebrew channels, that I have been watching yesterday and today covered the Gaza massacre as if these people had died in road accidents in an obscure part of the world!
They report the deaths and then they go back to their regular daily programs, as if nothing happened and no humanitarian calamity is taking place in the Gaza Strip, simply because these channels would feel embarrassed in front of their viewers if they called the victims 'martyrs' rather than 'dead'.
Brothers and sisters, this is the reality of today, the people of Gaza have made a difficult decision: they are in effect exercising that decision with their steadfastness, resistance, defiance, honor and glory as you yourselves did in 2006.
No amount of sacrifices, destruction, tears, blood and abandonment prevents them from continuing to insist on their right to resistance. But what is the responsibility of the nation today?
As a nation our main goal has to be stopping Zionist attacks on Gaza and preventing Israelis from achieving any of their objectives. In this manner, Gaza will be secured despite the gravity of the sacrifices that have to be made. Every state must work toward this goal and not only the citizens of Gaza.
People whose governments have resorted to inaction must force them to act. There is no justification for anyone to say that they cannot do anything because of their repressive regimes.
We must take to the streets in the Arab and Muslim world. We must raise our voices and pressure our governments even if they shoot us, it is still a duty -- for whoever falls martyr in these protests is a martyr on the path to al-Quds (Jerusalem), a martyr of Islam, and a martyr of a whole line of prophets and divine missions, they are martyrs of humanity.
Officials cannot apologize for their inaction and nations cannot complain that they have suppressive rulers.
In the July war, I did not ask this of the Arab people, but in the case of Gaza, I say all of us are duty-bound to take to the streets by the thousands, by the tens and hundreds of thousands, and demand from these government to act responsibly. These governments know full well what they are capable of doing, particularly at a time when the United States and European countries are suffering from financial and economic turmoil.
First of all, today the Arab world possesses oil, money and political strength and with modest efforts can stop the aggression against our people and the people in Gaza.
Secondly, the Arab and Muslim worlds must demand that the Egyptian regime, which has a crucial role in what is happening in Gaza today, not to enter war but to simply open the (Rafah) crossing for food, medicine, water and even weapons to reach our people in Gaza. The people in Gaza are men and women are victory-makers capable of resistance and steadfastness and have performed very well in the past.
In the July war in Lebanon, we did not ask any Arab country to open a battlefront but yes, we did ask for borders to be opened.
This is where we must acknowledge Syria for its assistance that led to our victory in the July war, because despite repeated aerial bombardment of all our border crossings and the main roads, Syria did not close its border with us.
We only ask of Egypt to indefinitely open the crossing for the sake of the living and not for the injured or the martyred.
Egypt, the largest and most important of Arab States, is not a Red Cross or a Red Crescent institution and will not be asked to deal with the people of Gaza in such manner.
What is required of the Egyptian leadership and regime is to resolve this issue and not to politically take advantage of the war to pressure Hamas and those of the resistance in Gaza in a bid to accept Israeli conditions in return for a ceasefire -- as some of us here in Lebanon did in the first days of the July aggression.
But they must politically help the people of Gaza and stop the aggression without forcing them to accept certain conditions. This is their real responsibility. This is what the Arab and Muslim worlds must be demanding of Egypt.
Up until now, we have been cautiously making appeals but after what happened yesterday, we say to the Egyptian regime:
If you do not open the Rafah border crossing, if you do not come to the rescue of your brothers in Gaza, then you are have a hand in the siege and the killing and in causing the Palestinian tragedy.
Egyptian officials have to hear this from all the people of the Arab and Muslims worlds, from religious scholars, political parties, elites, intellectuals and media professionals from all walks of life. They must know that they will be the condemned by history, the entire nation, the prophets and the martyrs if they are not quick to make a humane and historical stand today.
This part of my speech is directed at the people of Egypt, its Muslim, its Arabs, its proud people, the defiant, generous, resistance-loving, decent, courageous and noble people of Egypt, whom we all know what goes on in their hearts and minds. We know their mentality. Let the Egyptian people take to the streets in their millions.
Can the Egyptian police arrest millions of Egyptians?
No! They cannot!
We call upon the people of Egypt because they are the ones facing the regime which has closed the Rafah crossing.
People of Egypt, you must open the Rafah crossing with your bear hands if you must. I am talking of the position of a member of the resistance that fought for 33 days, and on behalf of the people who fought, sacrificed and gave martyrs.
What we know and what we hear about the officers and soldiers of the Egyptian armed forces, who are still proud of their Arab roots and continue to oppose Zionism, despite decades having passed from the Camp David peace agreement.
This is what we know them for. I am not calling for a coup in Egypt, and I am in no position to call for one. But I am calling for generals and officers to ask their political leadership whether it is their devotion to the military, the responsibilities entrusted in them and their rows of medals that prompts them to guard Israeli borders while watching our own people being slaughtered in Gaza?
The presence of everyone today is what will change the equation. The people in Egypt, its political parties, religious scholars, the Al-Azhar religious institution and the armed forces as well as the political elites are what will change the equation. I do not think there is an excuse for anyone to sit back and watch for the way to change the equation today is to modify Egypt's political stance.
That is what rulers of the Arab world and the Egyptian peoples must demand from the rulers of Egypt. If the Rafah crossing is opened for water, medicine, food, money and weapons to our people in Gaza, the epic victory that took place in Lebanon will be once again be repeated. We are confident of this victory despite all the harsh conditions of our people in the Gaza Strip.
Brothers and sisters, should Gaza endure this onslaught for days or weeks, the aggression will stop, as this enemy does not endure a war of attrition nor withstand the long days of war. This enemy will eventually end the aggression; it will fail in its objectives and with that their leaders who wanted to take political power by shedding Palestinian blood will fail.
Yes, some will tell us, in Lebanon too, that the solution lies in comprehensive peace. They will tell us this is the solution that will end the tragedy! Regardless of our ideologically principled position on the subject of comprehensive peace, I ask them what they have achieved from talks with Israel since Madrid and even before Madrid other than being subjected to further massacres, killings, aggression and more humiliation and the yielding to various conditions?
In the Palestinian settlement, the negotiations at Camp David by the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat were not held with the Likud or Kadima, but with the Labor Party and Barak himself. However, at Camp David, the Palestinians were not even ensured the minimum of their legitimate rights, not even enough to save face.
Which kind of just and comprehensive peace can be achieved be accepting humiliating Israeli conditions that exclude the 'right of return' to al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Palestinian territories where a viable Palestinian state can be established? What is all this nonsense when people are being killed and slaughtered in Palestine?!
As in the past and now in Lebanon, some talk about 'just and comprehensive peace'. I ask them whether they have managed to first convince the Israelis that a 'just and comprehensive peace' can be established that they now demand resistance movements to lay down their arms?
Have the Israelis ever made any concessions until now, in Lebanon, Palestine or anywhere for that matter?
Have the Israelis ever returned your legitimate rights, at least the minimum of them? Never! Some tell us such nonsense that in Lebanon the international community will protect us; well where is the international community that is supposed to be protecting the unarmed people in Gaza, the children and women of Gaza?
They say that we are protected by international resolutions. Where are the international resolutions in the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which not even a single one has been implemented not even Resolution 425?
Arab solidarity will protects us. What Arab solidarity?! Arab rulers waste days before they can agree on holding a meeting and have yet to agree on holding one now as a result of reservations here and there!
Brothers and sisters, what happened and is still happening today in Gaza, and what took place during the July 2006 aggression should be enough to convince each and every Arab and every patriot living in his homeland that what can protect our people and restore our rights is resistance and jihad. All other options are mere illusions!
To wake us up from our slumber -- in both Arab and Muslim worlds -- do we need a hundred more massacres like Qana and Gaza? Do we need the repetition of massacres like Deir Yassin? Do we need hundreds more massacres like that of the Ibrahimi Mosque?
By God, this matter is deeply regrettable because this enemy, whom you want peace with, offers you a new massacre every year or so as proof of its inherent terrorist, criminal and racist nature and its thirst for the blood of the innocent.
Your calls for peace will only be met with more slaughters and murder. Do we need more massacres in order for our leaders, people and elite to realize that we are before an enemy whose inherent nature is brutality, racism and terrorism, with whom it is impossible to establish peace under any circumstances. How then can peace with humiliating conditions be achieved with such an enemy? Do we need more blood to be convinced of that?
We are confident that the people of Gaza and the resistance have unshakable faith in God and divine victory, although some may not believe in this.
Here and on your behalf, on behalf of the resistance of Lebanon, the families of the martyrs, of prisoners, the wounded, and on behalf of every resistance member and honorable Mujahid in Lebanon, I congratulate Gazans on their martyrs as we pay our condolences to the families of martyrs and ask God Almighty for a speedy recovery of their wounded.
The Gazans are on the field, steadfast in battle and have limitless devotion. They are a people of dignity, defiance and resistance.
These are the real factors that will bring victory. Faith, loyalty, honesty, consistency and steadfastness is what will bring victory, and God is your aide. The entire Arab world is duty-bound to stand by your side. It is not permissible for anyone to lag from their abilities and potential in your support and aid.
As for Lebanon, I like to say a few words about the current events. Since the beginning of the bloody Israeli aggression on Gaza, Olmert, Barak, Livni and a number of Israeli officials, made strong threats and warnings to any other front, by which they particularly meant Lebanon. They took the proper precautions on the border and are on full alert on the northern border of occupied Palestine.
Today, they sent calls to the settlers in occupied northern Palestine to prepare and equip their shelters.
I do not want to frighten anyone or cause concern, but we cannot mislead anyone here as there are two possibilities:
The first is that everything the Israelis say or do in the northern occupied region of Palestine may be preventative precautions to deal with any developments on the Lebanese front.
The other is that the Israeli enemy is conspiring with some Arab regimes and with the world preoccupied with the financial crisis and the political vacuum created in the US because of the departure of Bush and Obama taking power, it is pondering an act of aggression against Lebanon.
The Israelis may take advantage of this situation in the world to strike Lebanon as they are in need of creating such a situation to gain political leverage in their elections or to restore its deterrent image.
We should not be reassured by such claims that Israel cannot fight on two fronts at the same time. It has fought on 3 and 4 fronts in the past. This must make the Lebanese government, army and people as well as the Lebanese resistance more attentive and cautious not to be tricked by such statements. For instance, one issue is of the missiles discovered eight days ago and just before the military attack on Gaza! I would like to ask: Who placed these missiles where they were before the war began?
When several Katyusha rockets were discovered in al-Naqoura, some Lebanese figures made statements and pointed the finger of blame at us. So much so that one of them even said that no one can make moves in that region, but Hizbullah. Yet, we did not hear these same figures say anything when the Zionists kidnapped the two Tarraf brothers from the Southern Blida within this same period. Their was no evidence of their patriotic concern and bleeding hearts for Lebanon when this happened.
Moreover, if the information upon which they build their political analysis, then this is a disaster as such information has proven to be both incorrect and false and has shown to be someone's attempt to shift the blame on the Hezbollah for that matter.
I would like to say to them that Hezbollah possesses the courage to take responsibility for any action we take. We do not hide or shy away from our responsibilities as some do!
We possess such courage and do not need to defend ourselves against such accusations, but what occurred is, yes, suspicion of the other side. Could Israel have not penetrated southern Lebanon to set up missiles of this type?
Can those many individuals and networks in Lebanon that collaborate with Israel not have carried out such acts to provide a justification for Israel to launch an aggression against Lebanon? Unfortunately, those politicians provided a justification and helped engineer up. When they condemned the Katyusha, they said that this provides a pretext for Israel to attack Lebanon! Who says it provides a pretext?!
Had such an occurrence taken place before, would it have justified an assault on Lebanon to destroy and confront Lebanon?
You are providing Israel with excuses through such rhetoric and absurd and unfounded statements. I will not delve deep into this matter now, but I am in the process of inviting Lebanon, as I do the region, yet my focus now remains on Lebanon specifically, the country that rattled Israel twice, and many more times, the most well-known of such defeats were those of the years 2000 and 2006.
Yes, we must be on alert. I do not want to frighten you but to avoid this subject from becoming a media frenzy, I will tell you that I asked the brothers in the south particularly, to be present, vigilant and cautious as we face a brutal and treacherous enemy. We do not know the size of the schemes hatched around us, regionally and in the world; we are not fearful of what happened in 2006 or of what happened or what is happening in Gaza.
We believe in the choice we made, and are quite prepared to repel any assault on our land, country and dignity. We have written our slogans in blood and are both willing and prepared to confront all aggressors, no matter who they may be.
Brother and sisters, all of us in Lebanon, and throughout the Muslim and Arab worlds, are duty-bound in these historical days, especially in the ten days leading to Ashura, to shoulder our responsibility toward what is happening in Gaza. The burden of what happens in Gaza is not only for the Gazans and Palestinians to bear.
We must continue in our efforts and actions, and should not settle for a protest here and a sit-in there, an action here and another there; we ought to invest every effort in defending our people in Gaza.
Tomorrow has been announced as a day of mourning by His Eminence Seyyed Ali Khamenei, for all resistance fighters and all free souls. Tomorrow is important for us to express our solidarity with and sympathy for our people in Gaza and to mourn the martyrs who passed away there.
I invite everyone tomorrow afternoon to participate in a large gathering at al-Rayah stadium to pay tribute and participate in the mourning of the martyrs of the resistance in Gaza and to express our solidarity with the people of Gaza. I know there are many Ashura gatherings scheduled to be held in neighborhoods, mosques and Hoseiniya halls tomorrow.
I call for the cancellation of all of these gatherings and I urge everyone to attend the al-Rayah gathering instead. I invite all men, women, children, young and old to come together in a stand of solidarity with Gaza and its martyrs.
Tomorrow, we ought to make the world hear our voice and see our fearless Hosseini fists risen in declaration to the world that we will remain standing and unyielding to murder, the shedding of blood and intimidation.
I would always invite you to the al-Rayah stadium on the tenth of Muharram, but tomorrow is the day of Ashura for us since everyday is an Ashura and every land is Karbala. Tomorrow is a call to Hossein and an answer to his call; tomorrow it is upon you to respond to Hossein's call.
Video of Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah speech (28 Dec 2008)
Video of speech in arabic can be downloaded here (195Mb WMV)
"You cannot simplify the question of violence.. You look at human history - the American revolution, the civil war, the end of slavery in the United States, the African National Congress, the end of colonialism - by and large these were some combination of popular social uprisings and social movements and non-violent protests AND armed resistance. Now that doesn't mean I'm advocating for any armed action today, I'm not. I'm committed to finding ways of acting and speaking and making people laugh and doing art and disrupting the war machine in other ways, but I think focusing on violence when we have the comfort of being protected by mass of armed violence is not non-violence at all.. if you are pointing to the mass of violence and who's doing the mass of violence in the world today, you have to look to state violence - that's people bombing whole cities from the air.. "