Showing posts from 2018

The politics of Ashura in Lebanon

Ashura was different in Nabatieh in 2015.
The town in South Lebanon attracts every year hundreds of Shiites who mark the commemoration of theBattle of Karbalawhen ImamHussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed by the forces of the second Umayyad caliphYazid IatKarbala, Iraq. 
Blood flows in Nabatieh during the procession that takes place in the central square of the town: men, teenagers and even little boys as well as a few women who made a pledge to perform the bloodletting ritual make and incision with a sword into their foreheads and let the blood flow on their faces in sign of mourning. 
In order to keep the blood flowing, they also hit the incision with the flat of the sword chanting Haidar! Haidar! [ Lion! Lion!],the nickname of Imam Ali, Hussein’s father, the son-in-law and cousin of Prophet Mohammad. In religious terms this is the Tatbir; in slang it is called “to hit Haidar.”
Often, some of the members of the procession are rushed out from the central square i…