By Hani Dweik
Last Saturday was the 21st of March. For the world, it is the beginning of spring. For Iran, Central Asia and some Middle Eastern countries, it is the Nowruz; the Persian New Year. For the rest of the Middle East it is Mother’s Day.
More and more, Mother’s Day became an event in the Middle East. Presents, decorations in shopping malls and songs everywhere you go on how to love our mothers!
I believe all of that is somewhat a camouflage; an act of repentance or an atonement on what WE are putting women and OUR mothers through!
Middle Eastern mothers have been suffering since thousands of years.
I believe Mary was the first (whom we know of) suffering mother in the Middle East. Not only she had to live her life defending her honour, but she had to witness her son being humiliated, beaten and crucified to death!
Nowadays, women are humiliated, beaten, raped and even sold on a daily basis.
So how am I supposed to glorify mothers?! What am I supposed to tell the Palestinian women back in 1948 when they were pushed out of their homes and forced to be scattered around the world away from their families and their loved ones? What shall I tell the Lebanese mother who had to go all the way to Africa in the late 70’s to feel a bit safe?! What can I say to the Iraqi mother who could be simply killed just because she has the wrong name in the wrong neighbourhood?! And lately, what words do I have to tell to the Syrian mother who witnesses her children being not only killed, but mutilated?!
When will we REALLY celebrate Mother’s Day? …
When I think of my mother’s life; I see a whole nation’s journey. Back in 1948, when she was supposed to live her childhood like any other child … but she did not. Like many Palestinian children in that year, she had to leave with her family to another year due to the war.
But life does not stop there, nor the suffering. All of a sudden the big family were scattered all over the world looking to make a new life somewhere else … they had to; they had no choice. And the sad part; is that it became the norm!
All of a sudden, this young child had to grow old. She had no choice but to grow old, like all little Palestinian girls of her generation. She had to travel alone to other place to seek a life and refuge. And again, this became a norm.
My mother; like most of women in her generation, had to do many tasks at the same time. Working in the morning, cooking and teaching us in the afternoon, cleaning, entertaining us, nursing us and most of all worrying!
After all these years, my mother still worries about her children. Wither you are grown up, rich, successful; still she cannot stop worrying and caring.
Abraham Lincoln once said; “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”.
So, to all the suffering mothers in the Middle East; from Mary the mother of Jesus all the way up to the Syrian mother … I salute you. I pray God to show you the love and peace you deserve and longed for.
And to my mother; you may lost your home when you were a child, but you managed to create a home for us that is like no other.