Au nom de mes frères martyrs, écoutez-mois, fils de mon pays et de ma nation. Voici nos dernières paroles. Les Ottomans veulent étouffer la voix de la liberté dans nos poitrines. Ils veulent nous empêcher de parler, mais nous déclarons que nous sommes une nation qui veut son indépendance, une nation qui cherche à se débarrasser du joug Ottoman. Terre de la nation, conserve notre mémoire! Ciel de notre pays, porte à tout Libanais, à tout Syrien, à tout Arabe, le salut de ses martyrs! Dis leur que nous avons lutté pour l’indépendance, et que nous mourons pour l’indépendance.
English version (took from the Facebook page) “My dear fellow countrymen, the Turks want to suffocate our voice in our lungs. But we will ask all the nations of the world for our independence and freedom. My beloved country, remember always these eleven martyrs! O paradise of my country, carry our feelings of brotherly love to every Lebanese, to every Syrian, to every Arab, tell them of our tragic end and tell them: ‘For your freedom, we have lived and for your independence we are dying.'”
These were Abdul-Karim Khalil’s last words before he was hanged (He then kicked the step ladder himself, denying that honor to the hangman) by the Ottomans on the 21st of August 1915 because of his struggle for freedom.
There has always been a debate in Lebanon on what makes a man a martyr. I believe Abdul-Karim Khalil sums it up very well in this part of his speech: “O paradise of my country, carry our feelings of brotherly love to every Lebanese, to every Syrian, to every Arab, tell them of our tragic end and tell them: For your freedom we have lived and for your independence we are dying.”
Even though Abdul-Karim Khalil was not hanged on the 5th and 6th of May with most of the other martyrs, he did belong to the wave of victims that suffered under the Ottomans.
Starving one third of the population till death should not be forgotten. The oppression should not be forgotten. The martyrs of 1915 and 1916 should not be forgotten.
Martyrs’ day should not be forgotten.