The Lynching of Mr. Musalem
On Thursday, April 29th, Mohammed Musalem, a 38-year-old Egyptian was lynched by Lebanese mob at Ketemaya village in southern Lebanon, according to police reports. He was accused of allegedly killing four members of a Lebanese family after they refused his request to marry their daughter. According to the report, Mr. Musalem was in police custody when the Lebanese mob snatched Mr. Musalem from them, stabbed him to death and then hanged him from a butcher’s hook from a pole in the village square. The police hadn’t gathered any evidence to prove that Mr. Musalem had actually committed the crime. How, I might ask, did these average villagers turn into monsters so quickly? How did this crowd transform into to mobs and killers that easily? How did Mr. Musalem’s friends, neighbors and coworkers became silent bystanders and “watch as the body was hung in the village square in Lebanon” as was reported in the news. According to the historian Al Sandine, any unusual incident can bring a crowd, but in order to turn a crowd into a mob, people need to feel that their community are threatened and have one united enemy. What was threatening Ketemaya village community? Was it Mr. Musalem, who never even had his day in court. The Qura’an demands of Muslims to verify any tragic news, or rumor to avoid civil unrest. Al Sandine, explains again: when a community is in shambles and its social organizations are collapsing, mob crowd can work as a unifying force in the community. Who was Mohammed Musalem? What was he like? What was he doing in a small village in Lebanon? Was he in love with the young Lebanese woman? Did he have the same images that most Egyptians have of Lebanon with their lovely attractive women? How many times was he told of the wonderful life one could have in Lebanon? How many times did he watch on Arab satellite TV about the glamour of the capital, Beirut, the Paris of the Arab world. The Lebanese police claimed that Mr. Musalem confessed to his crime. What else did Mr. Musalem confess to? Was his body trembling with fear as he was confessing? Did he have a chance to hear his crime? Did he know the names of his accusers? What was his last moment like? Did he make eye contact with any of his killers? Did he plead for his life? The crowd was the judges, jurors and the executioners. Were they absolutely sure of his guilt, without any reasonable doubt? Did they read him his crime and the verdict too? What was the last word he uttered to these monsters before his lips stopped moving? Was there any descent in the angry crowd? Did anyone know his real name? Did his name mean anything to them? Musalem means peace loving. Did they lynch him because Mr. Musalem was a cold-blooded criminal, or because he was, a stranger, an Egyptian , or a Sunni trapped in predominately Shiite village? In his hometown in Egypt, Mr. Musalem’s father wondered if those villages would have done the same horrible thing to his son if he was an Israeli. What did Mr. Musalem think or feel when he heard the crowd chanting “Allah Akbar,” God is greater? Did Mr. Musalem wonder about their “Allah”–why did they need his help. Was the chanting as painful to him as the stabbing? Mr. Musalem was already dead, and God had already taken custody of his soul, only his mutilated body was left for the rage orgy. The Lebanese bystanders were casually talking on their phones as they were watching the lynching of Mr. Musalem. Young men and women were taking snapshot pictures of his hanging naked body. Who were they calling? What did they say? How did they tell the story of Mr. Musalem’s lynching to their friends and family? Did the crowd think about any consequence? How much shame, and disgrace would they have after the rage fizzled away? How much sorrow would they feel after the screams vanished, and how much self respect would they have left after the crowd dispersed? How many memories would they keep for their children to share? Most off Mr. Musalem’s rights were denied and taken away from him on that fateful day. However, there is one right that Mr. Musalem is entitled to now, and that is for those who couldn’t help and save him from the angry mob and its lynching culture, to work hard and find out what really happened at Ketamaya village in south Lebanon that day!
Ahmed Tharwat 5/5/2010
Arabs are going back to this era: