"Hezbollah Ruined Everything, Even Death": Death Rituals and Martyr Making in the Lebanese Shiite Milieu
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 06/12/2021
AbstractThis study is concerned with two overlooked ritualization sites of the Lebanese Shiite community: the common and the military funeral. I ask, how have the death rituals (funerary, commemoration) changed over the last fifty years? How does the death ritual function in a particular sociopolitical environment? In Section One, I analyze a set of oral histories of Sultaneya villagers to focus on ritual. I do so to examine the change in death rituals, funerary and commemoration, over the last five decades (1969- 2019). I focus on the reform of the young pious Shiites of their parents’ ‘customs and traditions’. This I situate within the context of the Shiite Islamic movement that shaped today’s Shiite environment. In Section Two, I look at the military funeral of Hezbollah. I delineate the elements of this invented tradition and show how the military funeral appropriates Ashura symbols and rituals. I argue that this is so because the military funeral is found to differentiate between the bodies of the martyrs and everyone else, hence to sacralize them – the making of Hezbollah martyr is thus realized within this process.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle Eastern & North African Studies