Ayatollah al-Nimr: A Scapegoat on the Freedom's Altar


The 2nd of January remarks the 3rd Martyrdom anniversary of Ayatollah Nimr Baqir al-Nimr; who was brutally executed by the autocratic Saudi regime. Ayatollah al-Nimr has been a prominent faith leader, reformist, leading cleric and vocal supporter of the ongoing peaceful anti-government protests, since 2011, in the Saudi Eastern Province, where the Shiite majority has long been marginalized; at various levels.

Martyr Ayatollah al-Nimr is a revolutionary, intellectual and political emblem that requires us to dissect and delve into his speeches in order to preserve his outstanding legacy; as a figure of pride and a role model for the world's revolutionaries. He has been an innovative leader; sentenced to death, merely because he had frequently and persistently rejected the oppressive regime's injustice inflicted on his fellow people in the Arabian peninsula; sacrificing his life on the altar of freedom and dignity.

Indeed, Ayatollah al-Nimr had been accused of being a "terrorist." Under repressive regimes, the reformers, the human rights activists, the bloggers and the advocates of multiculturalism, dialogue and peacefulism are deemed as terrorists. Those dissents are destined to be imprisoned, tried and convicted; whose fundamental rights are denied. Ayatollah al-Nimr had always been persecuted and targeted by any means, simply because he was active in social and political awareness work and in supporting women's empowerment and integration into public life.

There is no doubt that the Ayatollah al-Nimr's execution at the beginning of 2016 has opened a new chapter of escalation and the criminal identification of Saudi terrorism has been revealed as well. It has become crystal clear that this totalitarian regime pays no respect to the principles of human rights; mainly the right to freedom of expression and religious freedom. Obviously, the terrorist cancerous cells of this regime have killed millions of innocent people in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

In his sermons, Ayatollah al-Nimr shades lights on the Ummah's status quo due to its tyrannical rulers' shameful policies, and which must ignite the peoples of the region to ferociously rebel against them. He stresses that injustice, defending the detainees and not giving up the lost rights is a great responsibility.

Addressing the authorities, Ayatollah al-Nimr reiterates that its notorious prisons, mock trials and false accusations do not frighten the oppressed, adding that the cowards, who remain silent in the face of the regime's intolerable oppression and blatant violations, are complicit.

"Imprisonment is an honour and a privilege," his Eminence states, elaborating that the more the repression, the more the steadfastness. He reminds those illegitimate monarchs, in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, of the previous tyrants' fate; whose wealth, palaces, treasures, etc., never secured them.

Ayatollah al-Nimr's shrewdness and knowledgeability had brought about enlightenment and awareness to his followers, who used to preach occasionally, on a wide range of topics, including the dander of Wahhabism. He draws an analogy between the principles of authentic Islam and the counterfeit Saudi version of 'Islam,' based on betrayal and subjugation to the US. The martyr asks, "Is it permissible for them not to be overthrown by the oppressed?"

Demanding the people's right to choose who governs them, he maintains that the Saudi regime's ideology has nothing to do with Islam, as instead of following the Holy Prophet Muhammad's guidance ideology and principles, it claims and utilises the Islamic identity to spread terrorism and criminality.

The Bahraini uprising and the cause of its marginalised people have been sufficiently regarded by Martyr al-Nimr, a pivotal issue that never ignored. He is the one who says that the so-called 'Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force has to fight the Zionist enemy instead of suppressing the armless defenceless Bahrainis.

"Martyrdom in defence of the oppressed is an honour," he emphasizes; commenting that billions of dollars are allocated to armament deals with the US, which "milks Saudi Arabia." Ayatollah al-Nimr also mocks the regime's cliché fabrication against the detainees of serving "external agendas;" asserting that it is itself a subject to the US agenda.

"The US does not defend you against Iran, which is a militarily advanced republic; however the US is defending its own interests, and it would certainly overthrow you when you oppose its interests demand that. Remember [Egypt and Tunisia's former presidents] Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; two agents, who have been overthrown by the US, placed in the shadow of history and would be cursed by the coming generations," he affirms.

Martyr Al-Nimr has repeatedly urged his compatriots to follow the path of freedom against tyranny, with high determination and steadfastness. He associates the regime, which persecutes its citizens, with tribalism and banditry; assuming that it must honour its people and provides them with safety and security. "Based on this fact, the oppressed have to face the oppressor [even if they are armless and vulnerable] and fight him with faith, patience and sacrifice," his Eminence deduces.

Ayatollah al-Nimr adds that the peoples' will, steadfastness and firm principles overthrow the most powerful regimes and shake the tyrants' thrones. He stipulates that if a revolutionary dies, he will live with his principles; saying, "Through martyrdom, he would certainly survive and triumph."

On the other hand, Ayatollah al-Nimr employs a wide space in his speeches to discuss sedition and how the imperialist powers have utilised the Saudi regime to tear apart the region. He claims that the tyrannical regime inflames regional, sectarian, societal and ethnic clashes; focusing on sectarian incitement, hatred and the logic of Takfir, in particular.

Martyr al-Nimr argues that the difference of opinion and expression and constructive criticism based on refutation, proof and proof is a right and a necessity. He restates that the Saudi regime's policy of differentiation is an aggressive psychological state that must be taken care of, and in turn, opportunities for rapprochement and dialogue should be enhanced. Martyr al-Nimr stresses that the broad economic gap between those rulers and the ruled; both being Sunnis or Shiites, requires awareness and joint action to put an end to those corrupted thefts who loot the people's wealth and riches. 

Three years after the gruesome murder of Ayatollah al-Nimr's; whose holy body is still being held by the autocratic authorities, we pay tribute to him for his sacrifices and revolutionary values. Undeniably, the revolutionary vision, the scope of knowledge and the honourable history of this remarkable character can hardly be written on. He awakens every oppressed to shoulder responsibility and to be equipped with determination until freedom and justice are retained.