Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark - Lebanon

End of the Road

By: Nisreen Edris

The enemy chased them to where the road ended. Now a field of landmines stretches ahead of them. Having said that, a group to which they belong is waiting for them, because it can be attacked and wiped out at anytime if they do not deal with the situation wisely. Only both of them remained after their leader was martyred by a striking rocket from which they escaped miraculously and lost contact with their comrades.
Now, they must lie in wait while the night waves began to break out by the very first light of dawn. Their military outfits are almost torn. They are exhausted and out of breath.
Each one was looking to the other – Ridha and Moussa – two young men in their prime. They must advance to a certain position into the occupied zone. On the other hand, the drones were everywhere and warplanes bombed the area, killing the leader of the group and causing a twist in their path due to heavy bombardment.
It was a rough night, the moonlight dimmed and heavy fog spread over the valleys and mountains. The two men sat for a break. They haven't stopped since three days.
The cold was severe. Frightful silence spread its wings over their faces, which were camouflaged with dirt and blood. Now they have to defuse some landmines in order to reach the closest point that will take them back to the right track. However, one of them must walk through the landmines before the other. They have been together for five years as part of a 5-member group, which was famed for its strange spiritual merger. Three have martyred including the leader, two (they) remain. Now both together have reached the end of the road.
Ridha looked at Moussa with a smile that mirrored a tired person and said firmly to him:
"Since the group leader martyred, one of us must lead in order to cross this field. Because I am the eldest, I will lead. And given that, I will walk through the field before you."
Moussa uprose with denial sparking through his eyes. He said:
"No, I will walk the field before you."
Ridha calmed him down and said:
"Listen my friend, I am the one who helped and trained you with the work and engineering. This means my experience excels yours."
Moussa looked down to the ground in sadness and distress. He said:
"If I knew earlier that you wanted to walk before me I would have not stopped you my companion. I know you prefer me to yourself, which is why I cannot agree. You reflect the good side of me. I know you more than your mother knows you. We have been together for a long time, which is why we are like the one body. Do you remember? You and I were two of five. Three have martyred, and we have remained. We both fear that one might martyr before the other. I am aware of the sadness that lives inside you ever since the time when the other three had martyred. I am also tired from alienation. Do you want to leave with me? How can I let you walk away to defuse the landmines so that I can cross safely? I will doom myself if I accept. Let my legs freeze and my eyes blind and my soul waste if I ever let you go."
Ridha embraced Moussa, cried and said:
"Why do you make the situation difficult for me? Do you think that I will also let you cross before me? How can I watch you clear a landmine while my heart and all my senses observe you in fear?
Listen, we be both began this long journey together until the end. We both wish for martyrdom and we wish it for each other because it is the desire of the inner soul. If we are going to be late our companions will be at risk. The enemy might surprise them at any time. I will accept you to lead us, but I beg you to let me walk before you."
Ridha fastened his load tighter and said:
"No. I will divide the filed into two halves and we will walk parallel to each other. Whoever martyrs his wish will come true. And he who does not martyr must continue the road."
He eyed the field that was gaining the color of the dawn and asked his friend to wash for the Morning Prayer. They stood adjacent to each other, exclaimed 'God is great', then knelt and prostrated in worship.
It is time.
They stared at each other and each entrusted his companion with a will. They parted slightly and started defusing the first landmines. They walked parallel to each other. No one would step forward before his companion did. They crossed half the field with their hands mastering the job while uttering words that they were accustomed with.
They eyed the end of the road, two more steps and they will reach the safe zone. Just after the last job was done and as they yelled for each other, a deafening explosion occurred because of a striking rocket that was launched by a warplane. The heavy falling rain drops broke the silence that covered their bodies, which were mixed with blood and dirt.
Moussa and Ridha have crossed the landmine field and secured a safe passage for their companions who when they crossed they found that their bodies scattered in pieces while Ridha's hand held Moussa's hand—not even death could split them from each other.

This tourist landmark is run by the Lebanese Association for Tourism & Tradition

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