Let’s go back to the same time in 2020.
A start of a new decade, a fresh beginning and a new chapter of our lives that we were all excited to go into. Everywhere around the world, there were greetings of ‘Happy New Year!’ as everyone was settling into day 3 of the fresh year, and all at once.. it went from smiles to frowns and looks of worry.
Iran’s highly established head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a terrorizing US airstrike in the early hours of Friday morning at Baghdad International Airport. This was a day that the hearts of many, instead of starting the year afresh, were grieving as we had lost one of the bravest commanders, hailed as a hero in the eyes of millions. Along with General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis the deputy head leader of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces was killed too. As we approach the one-year anniversary of this global calamity and losing a charismatic and one of the best leaders of this generation, we come to remember and commemorate the mind shattering loss that was felt that day and for the weeks that came ahead.
Hasan Tavakoli recently released a beautiful song with heartfelt lyrics that come to celebrate Qassem Soliemani. As he begins the verse with the most profound quote “One day I opened my eyes and met the morning breeze, It was carrying your scent through streets and alleys’’ which relates to the fact that on Friday, the holiest day for Muslims in the week, when the Middle East awoke for the dawn prayers and when the West went to sleep, news of General Soleimani’s martyrdom had reached every headline, every news channel, and every newspaper, where those painful articles and bulletins spoke that his vehicle was targeted by the US army on the terrorist orders of one of the most vile presidents of US history. The phrase ‘carrying your scent through streets and alleys’ echoes the streets of Iran and Iraq as crowds of millions marched onto the streets promising revenge for their beloved commander as there were shouts of ‘Down with USA’. Muslims of the Shiite world all mourned and grieved the death of the General as his name and essence of his strength and martyrdom lingered in households, streets and the mosques long after the tragedy.
General Qassem Soleimani was as mentioned in the song as “the bridge that connected hearts” as he was an aid to strengthen the bond between Iran and Iraq, especially after the Iran-Iraq war, where the countries were on a mend on their relationship. Not only that, he connected the hearts of many, Muslims, Christians and basically anyone that stood against ISIS and its like in the region, and even now, his name continues to bring people together as they learn the cause that he so passionately devoted himself to, which was to “help countries to reclaim their land that was occupied.” He played a key part in Syria as he led the Quds Force along with help of the PMU, in their fight against the terrorist organization of ISIS. Together, the emptied the streets of Syria of Daesh’s terrorizing existence and freed the holy shrines from the cruelty, destruction and tragedy that had plagued them for years.
As “oppressors will never forget his frown,” the General was often seen as a stern man as he had a quiet and humble personality. He was known to operate both from within the shadows and out in the open, while being considered the second most powerful man in Iran which had many of unallied world leaders at unease with his intelligent strategical planning. He was once described as ‘the living martyr of the revolution’ by Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, a title which just added to his bravery. However, those close to him described him as charismatic and charming like the song so beautifully describes in the words “the oppressed never forget the smile on his face.” He was beloved amongst his soldiers and amongst “the nations that held him high” that saw him with the utmost respect as he was kind, considerate and often loved playing with children. The significance of the repeating lyric, “O how you shine like a constellation in the sky” truly illustrates the image of the most decorated commander, with a smile only so bright as a star reserved for the oppressed, as he shone through the darkness of the “flames of terror” which were extinguished by his smile.
Today we live in a world that is governed by the Western media and that whatever manipulative stories are crafted by them are believed so easily. The death of the general sparked quite a controversy as Tavakoli put so eloquently, “You see they instigate the terror and manipulate the news, so they can whitewash every crime to make the world confused.” Many thought that he died for good reason as they were manipulated by Western leaders to think that he, instead of being a righteous man, ‘shaped the brutality of the Syrian War’ and killed thousands of ‘innocents.’ It’s a shame however that even fellow Muslim leaders were brainwashed, or rather, too afraid to ruin their reputation with their Western allies to admit the truth. Although towards the ending of the song, Tavakoli’s lyric sends a chilling yet exciting shiver through the spine with the phrase “Truth will always prevail, let them live in error.”
With a new year beginning, we bring along the trials of 2020 along with the continued pandemic as “Ever since you left.. the world has become a total mess,” which was along the opening lines of the song, which indicates that with the martyrdom of the general at the beginning of the year, just as this was at the beginning of the song, more challenges and tribulations have befallen us. Nevertheless, we carry the hope and remembrance for this great figure as he continues to live on within our hearts and as we celebrate his bravery and his accomplishments for the oppressed and his excellency as a legendary role model for the future generations to come.
Visit Tavakoli’s YouTube to listen to this majestic song here! I’d say it’d be a good idea to subscribe for future goodness too!
Featured image via Hasan Tavakoli on YouTube.