Anthony Elghossain

ISIS: Mujahid ‘martyred by mezze’

We get it: Hummus is Lebanese. (Photoshop by NOW)

A jihadist fighter affiliated with Idiot Sycophants of Islamist Saboteurs (ISIS)—a self-described “anti-iPhone, pro-AK-47 successor to Al-Qaeda in Iraq”—was found dead near a remote Lebanese mountain village. Akbar Shebaan al-Zaatar, a middle-aged fighter from Iraq’s “Sunni triangle,” died while “making decent progress on his ninth cup of coffee,” the coroner’s report revealed. ISIS medical volunteers have thus attributed the cause of death to “Lebanese hospitality” and “gluttony.”


“This has become a significant threat to our ability to call in auxiliaries from Syria,” explained Saaden Ibn-Jahshein, an ISIS spokesperson working on his third chicken shawarma. “In addition to coping with traffic and a cacophony of communities, we’re struggling to handle persistent old ladies armed with mounds and mounds of food.”


“The Berdawni Battle was incredibly fierce,” he mused wearily. “Tabbouleh, fattoush, fried kibbeh, raw kibbeh, kibbeh in a pan, kibbeh in the sky, kibbeh from Zgharta, kebbeh for Zahle; fried cheese sticks, grilled cheese sticks, cheese pies, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese; bits of calamari—break for a cigarette, haram!—chopped liver, chopped fat, cow’s tongue, and some spices; olives, pickled vegetables, fresh vegetables, and an occasionally stale piece of lettuce; garlic, garlic paste, and garlic sauce to arouse the appetite; mint leaves, mint tea, mint gum to cleanse the palate; laban, labneh, laban with garlic and cucumbers, labneh with olive oil and cucumbers, kibbeh (again?) in laban; stuffedgrape leaves, stuffed eggplants, stuffed squash, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed animal organs; and muhammara, moussaka, moujadara, and moutabal mabaarif shinoueh."


“Then, the damned cannibals served up Sultan Ibrahim, Daoud Basha, and Baba Ghannouj—peace and mercy be upon their souls! Who were those poor bastards anyway? Such a waste of life.”


“Worst of all?” he continued, desperately loosening his sash and robe to make room. “Hummus, hummus, hummus. Inno kiss ikhta. We get it: Hummus is Lebanese. Hummus, garlicky hummus, lemony hummus, hummus with peppers, hummus with olive oil—from infidel villages, I might add. Hummus with meat, hummus with pine nuts, hummus with meat and pine nuts, hummus with thyme, hummus with cracked bread, hummus with meat and cracked bread.”


“Just when we thought we could win, they brought out reinforcements. Get this: hummus with chickpeas on top. Isn’t that shit made out of chickpeas? Why would you make chickpea puree, just to dump chickpeas on top of it? Tell me, why? Just eat the goddamn chickpeas, if that’s all you want!”


“Anyway, when the waiter asked our poor boys if they were ready for the main course, the battle was finished. Wallahi, they all dropped dead right there. Poor al-Zaatar went first, diving onto a balled up kibbeh to save his comrades.”


“We have lost several mujahideen to mezze, mostly in and around Zahle, a fine food town traversing the B-road we take to smuggle our men in. Thus far, we’ve kept these deaths quiet—as the villagers back home, wherever that happens to be, won’t take kindly seeing their boys dying in droves. But the cat’s out of the bag now: we’re battling in Berdawni.”




With the sun setting, villagers gathered in al-Zaatar’s hometown—hundreds of kilometers away—to pay their respects. Ibn al-Fashal, the ISIS security czar tasked with coordinating “the hapless invasion of [NOW’s] hellhole of a home,” delivered the eulogy.  


Ahla. Peace be upon those who aren’t in pieces. Al-Zaatar was a fresh young man: he was dark, zesty, and full of flavor, as it were. And full of life. Oh, was he full of life! … until we ‘martyred’ his ass.”


“Let us now,” continued al-Fashal, “recall the words of Ibn Khaldun: Civilizations absorb conquerors. We have sought to invade and occupy Lebanon. Not only have we failed, but we’re practically Lebanese now. After all, we’ve spent the last few days eating shit—piles and piles of it: traffic, communalism, what have you. Hell, I tried to arrange for a car-bomb yesterday but some bastard had double-parked right near my Chevy. I couldn’t drive out to the designated target zone. I called the damn cops, and they told me to wait for the owner to come get it—but he was at lunch, which took about eight hours.


“And what did we do after eating so much shit? Eat. And overeat. Look what’s happened to us, brothers, just look.”


“This man, al-Zaatar, was a mujahid. He struggled in service of his God—that’s Allah, you ignorant knaves—who undoubtedly wanted him to behead women and children across random ribbons of land straddling Iraq and the Levant… sorry al-Sham, no Surriyah, I mean al-Mashreq. Fertile Crescent, perhaps? No, I have it! I have it here, from my note at Oxford—before I rejected the cultural imperialism that gave me the advanced education that has now enabled me to lead this pop-up militia: ‘the hinterlands of the Eastern Mediterranean littoral.’”


“Anyway, who cares? People are dying and—”  


Tislaaaaaam!” shrieked an overwhelmed mourner, as an angry mob chucked rose petals, rice, ripe tomatoes, fresh fruit, and frozen chickpeas at the eulogizer and corpse. “Tislam ya Shebaan!


 “—and our boy’s gone. The boy was taken out by an extra lick of hummus.”


“He was martyred by mezze.”


Anthony Elghossain trusts you’ve had your fill by now. Sahtein! He tweets @aelghossain


*NOW’s Chief Caliphate Correspondent and Roving Reporter on Retrogrades contributed these fictitious, farcical reports from Beirut, Raqqa, and the Berdawni River. 

We get it: Hummus is Lebanese. (Photoshop by NOW)

Poor al-Zaatar went first, diving onto a balled up kibbeh to save his comrades.”

  • Gerty

    I love all your articles! Keep up the good work. I particularly enjoy your reflections on hommus and al-Sham... ya3nee Surriyeh... ya3nee ;)

    September 28, 2014

  • Kell

    Humor is so welcome in this world of sometimes overwhelming sorrow. It's great to laugh at life's complications.

    August 31, 2014

  • Berthold

    Congratulations for your 3 articles Mr Elghossein. This is Lebanon as we love it: a free speech and a typical sense of humour. I circulated your contributions to many friends. Intelligent people know that, in the middle of the sadness and tragedies of life, it should not stop us to have a good laugh at ourselves and our misery. Please don't stop and thank you for your good spirits. Berthold (France)

    August 26, 2014

  • Chafiq

    why is this being published? what does it mean?

    August 22, 2014