Killing in the Name of…


Earlier this weekend I saw a headline concerning the conflict in Syria that read “Syria Ceasefire: Regime Agrees to Holiday Truce.” I remember thinking, “Finally! At least (even if not for good) people will be able to enjoy the holiday in peace.”

The conflict in Syria stems from sectarian differences among Alawis, who belong to a branch of the Shia sect of Islam, and people of the Sunni sect.

Firstly, what is the term holiday? To many Americans the term is synonymous with “a day off of work.” But what is a holiday? We, as a society, have altered the word as time has passed. What do we associate a legitimate (my apologies go out to Labor Day and the 4th of July) holiday with? I associate the word with Christmas, Easter, and other holy days that various religious groups adhere to.  I’m sure I am not the only one. Thus, the word “holiday” has somehow formed from the two words “holy” and “day.” A time where one can enjoy being with family and friends and ultimately celebrate life.

Syrian rebel fighters making Eid prayer.

Syrians were hoping the truce would last throughout the four day holiday; however their hopes were shattered when a car bomb went off at a public square in Damascus. People were gathered at the square to celebrate Eid, the holiday for which the truce was called.

Furthermore, amid the “truce” between Syrian Rebels and government forces bullets began to fly in response to the bombing. If I am not mistaken, aren’t these two groups warring because of religious differences? If one adheres to their religion so much so that they are willing to kill for it, then why is it that those same people cannot commit to a truce for a holiday. Even in the cold heat of World War I American and German forces put their differences aside to share Christmas together.

A Free Syrian Army fighter walks in front of graffiti in Aleppo.

I also realize this attempted truce comes after a very high profile assassination; however the point I want to reiterate is if people can kill in the name of religion, then there is no reason why those people cannot honor their religion by laying down their arms in a truce so that some normalcy may be gained on a holy day.

Those who died or were injured in Damascus Friday morning were celebrating their religion. The sad irony in all of this is that those people killed also died for their religion at the hands of people who have been dying for their own religion for the past year and a half.

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24 thoughts on “Killing in the Name of…

  1. While I know you are mostly right about the sectarian differences, there are also other factors at play here besides religious differences. It is sad; however, that the parties involved could not stand to lie their weapons down for a few days in respect of their faith. Clearly these people are not true to their religious beliefs, that, or they have let their anger get in the way. Its really terrible what’s happening in Syria. I can’t stop thinking about the people there.

  2. Western society sees the word “holiday” differently than other cultures, without knowing our miss conception. Unfortunately not all see the need for peace for four days during this time for being with family. Timea have changed and winning (or being right) is everything, no common decency. Also nice title, “Killing in the Name of” (Rage against the Machine?) Coincidence?

  3. Fighters in Syria claim that they are fighting in the name of religion, but they are fighting in order to achieve political interests. Unfortunately no one cares about the death toll that is increasing day by day.

    1. I agree with you Aya!
      Besides, all fighters, including the American troops fight in the name of something of their choice in order to only achieve political power and keep it! It is NEVER about defending religion or fighting terrorism.

  4. I would have to agree with Brittnee about this. The word “holiday” has different meanings for wherever you are in the world. The example used “Even in the cold heat of World War I, American and German forces put their differences aside to share Christmas together,” is very good. Although we were fighting with germany we still knew what was important to us (religion, family, holiday). Each country has different norms for what is right and wrong. In terms of Syria, there may be many underlying issues that may not be visible for why the ceasefire did not last. In my opinion, power and political stance are the reasons for the ceasefire not lasting. But in general, most wars and fights are over power anyways.

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