Hizbullah's involvement in the war in Syria, in addition to its other illicit activities, is costing Lebanon's Shia community the lives of its young men, stirring increasing resentment among women who lose their husbands and sons.
Ilham, who asked to use a pseudonym out of concern for her safety, said she lost her 24-year-old son a few months ago in the war in Syria.
She had dreams for him, she said -- that he would start his own business and get married -- but his insistence on fighting in Syria in the ranks of Hizbullah , against her will, turned her dreams into a nightmare.
Her son's death is a wound that will not heal, she told Al-Mashareq.
"I never imagined my son’s support of [Hizbullah] would turn into a commitment that would lead him to fight in Syria, and in a war that is not our war as Lebanese," she said.
"He worked and lived a normal life like his brothers and sisters until he shocked us with his commitment and our discovery that he was also committed militarily," she added.
"He served several tours [of duty] and always returned to us safe and sound, except this last time, when he was returned to us wrapped in a shroud," Ilham said. "We were showered with congratulations because he died a martyr."
"The fact of the matter is that I am a mother who lost her young son in a war that does not concern me," she said. "He went without my consent and was killed."
She is furious, but cannot publicly express her anger, she said. "I think many mothers who lost husbands and sons in the Syrian war feel the same way."
No compensation for life
Hizbullah officials "came visiting to congratulate us with words, and they gave us a sum of money as compensation, when all the money in the world cannot recompense me for my loss", Ilham said.
"They promised to help us and care for us, and we are waiting," she said. "I do not think we will receive more than we already have."
"I am not convinced of the reasons for his death or the death of our youth. When will the bleeding stop?" she asked.
Iran-backed Hizbullah "pushes young Shias to their deaths" , with wives and mothers left behind to mourn, Lebanese University assistant professor of psychology and human rights activist Mona Fayad told Al-Mashareq.
"When the number of dead in Syria grew high, the party stopped counting or reporting actual numbers," she said. "It now only announces the death of prominent and eminent members of the party, and silences the families of the poor with a sum of money."
The compensation offered to the bereaved families of those killed in Syria is not equal due to the corruption and discrimination within the party, said Fayad, a Shia, who has condemned Hizbullah’s involvement in the Syria war and its effects on the Shia community in Lebanon on more than one occasion.
Women who lose their husbands or sons are appeased with some money or an apartment, Fayad said, and some are pushed into temporary marriages.
A number of these women, mothers and wives, are upset "because they are forced to be silent and unable to express their anger out loud because they need the financial and economic support", she said.
Resentment among Shia
"Unease exists within Hizbullah’s base and among its supporters, whose husbands, fathers or sons are killed in Syria, and some of it is beginning to come out into the open," journalist Ibrahim Haidar, who writes for an-Nahar newspaper, told Al-Mashareq.
This resentment is generally expressed by the women, he said, the wives and mothers "who lose the dearest people to their hearts, who are irreplaceable".
"The party compensates them for their loss with money and services [based on a system that] discriminates between one person and another," he said.
"The party puts joining [Hizbullah] and involvement in the Syrian interior above any other consideration," he said. "And four years into its involvement in Syria, it stands a wide distance apart from the Lebanese people, who do not want to get involved or take part in a war that kills civilians on a daily basis."
Lebanese who reject Hizbullah’s intervention in Syria wonder about the point of this involvement, he added, as it is inflicting heavy losses on the party and causing youth to be killed daily.
"These questions are coming out in the open also within the Shia community," Haidar said.