I dread a word

I dread a word.
Have never really paid too much attention to it until people around me started just not being around any longer.
Until phone calls went unanswered, until someone returning from a battle, a fight, the war, informed me that ‘my cousin’, ‘my brother’, ‘my son’, ‘my neighbor was killed in action’.
Every time, I gasp for air. Every time, I have to sit.
At certain latitudes you soon learn that someone dies in action. That someone is blown up by a suicide bomber, a car bomb, cross-fire.
That the sky is not always sheltering and the earth can swallow your body from now to eternity.
And that some things you cannot control and cannot change.
That you are not invincible and most of the time you have no voice in trying to alter the events.
You start figuring out that, indeed, it’s all a matter of luck, that your time has not come yet; and the same applies to the people you know or your beloved ones.
I dread a word: martyr.
Jamil-Jamal was my neighbor, the brother of someone close to me and the son of a family I considered somehow mine.
His brother Hamudi, during a bombardment, had once told me: “You must not be afraid. Open your mouth in case of explosion: it saves your hearing”. Seeing him under air-strikes always calmed me down even if he was half my age. My courage came from him.
Jamil-Jamal is a martyr. Killed in action. It makes no difference on which side he was fighting.
His pictures are abdundant on the social media. His family pays tribute sharing memories of happy moments, of him in uniform, with a new pair of sun glasses and him just smiling in the street.
For me the strongest memory of Jamil Jamal will always be of the void any given war leaves in our space, in our small universe.
The world is not made of atoms. It’s made of souls. Yours, Jamil Jamal, is still with us in this void.
Travel lightly, martyr

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