Lokman Slim’s Mother to Asharq Al-Awsat: Sorrow Is My Constant Companion

A mourner, left, looks at a monument of Lokman Slim during a memorial service to pay tribute to the slain Lebanese political activist in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (AP)
A mourner, left, looks at a monument of Lokman Slim during a memorial service to pay tribute to the slain Lebanese political activist in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (AP)
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Lokman Slim’s Mother to Asharq Al-Awsat: Sorrow Is My Constant Companion

A mourner, left, looks at a monument of Lokman Slim during a memorial service to pay tribute to the slain Lebanese political activist in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (AP)
A mourner, left, looks at a monument of Lokman Slim during a memorial service to pay tribute to the slain Lebanese political activist in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (AP)

No feelings of animosity and vengeance are harbored towards the killers of Shiite political activist Lokman Slim.

His mother, Salma Mershak has refused to move out of her house in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahieh, a Hezbollah stronghold. Many in Lebanon have accused the party of assassinating Slim two years ago.

Mershak is a Lebanese-Egyptian-Syrian writer. Her father is Syrian and mother Lebanese and she lived in Egypt for a time.

She only has words to ease the pain of her son’s loss.

“The pain of a parent’s loss of a child cannot be healed in days and years. It differs from the pain of losing a parent,” she told Asharq Al-Awsat.

She added that sorrow has become her constant companion and will remain with her until the day she dies.

Mershak lamented that the judiciary has failed in uncovering her son’s killers. She has also expressed her dismay in the dire state of affairs in the judiciary overall.

“The law does not have the final say, rather the killer, who portrays himself as the hero, does,” she stated.

“What sort of barbarity is this?!” she wondered incredulously.

She recalled a time when her late husband Mohsen Slim won a lawsuit against the Lebanese government back in the 1940s.

“The independent judiciary that existed back then no longer stands today,” she lamented.

Asked if she knows who her son’s killers are, Mershak replied: “Those who possess the weapons know. My weapons are words and ideas. I don’t know who killed him and can’t make any accusations, because I may harm myself and my family if I do.”

She could find no reason why Lokman was killed, except that he was “honest and spoke the truth.”

On how he would describe the dire state of affairs in Lebanon today if he were alive, she said: “He would have been extremely sad because the country is like a person who is standing on top of a mountain and hurtling towards the abyss.”



Hello Kitty, Parasites: Inside North Korea Trash Balloons According to South 

A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. (Yonhap via AP, File)
A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. (Yonhap via AP, File)
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Hello Kitty, Parasites: Inside North Korea Trash Balloons According to South 

A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. (Yonhap via AP, File)
A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. (Yonhap via AP, File)

Among the trash that balloons carried over the border from North were articles printed with Hello Kitty characters, badly worn clothing, and soil containing traces of human feces and parasites, South Korea said on Monday.

North Korea has flown balloons carrying trash since late May, with hundreds landing in South Korea. South Korea deployed military explosives units and chemical and biological warfare teams to inspect the objects.

The items also included clothes that had been donated from the South that were slashed and cut up, and general trash that appeared to be hastily collected, the South's Unification Ministry, which handles the North, said in a report.

North Korea has said the balloons were retaliation for a propaganda campaign by North Korean defectors and activists in the South who regularly send over balloons carrying food, medicine, money and leaflets criticizing the North's leaders.

Parasites and human DNA were found in the dirt in some of the plastic bags, which shows it contained fertilizer that used human feces, the ministry unification ministry said.

North Korea, which suffers a chronic food shortage, depended on South Korea for massive shipments of chemical fertilizer until such aid was suspended in 2007 as Pyongyang accelerated weapons development.

The trash contained worn items of clothing with Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty characters as well as socks, gloves and children's clothes that had been heavily patched up, masks with fabric stitched by hand and two layers of shirts sewn together.

Last week, the North warned it would send more balloons carrying trash.