REMEMBERING MY MOTHER
Ever since the founding of the Israeli state on occupied land, its intellectuals and leaders have been convinced that huge massacres they committed in 1948 and thereafter would be enough to frighten us, to squeeze us to forget our past and to accept our present.
That’s what Ben Gurion believed when he said: “The old will die and the young will forget”.
But for the Palestinian community, where parents tend to be holy and blessed, where family members are so united, everyone is proud of his ancestor’s village from which they were exiled in the 1948 catastrophe, and everyone dreams of returning (to it) one day.
But none of that can ever be achieved without the greatest gift we’ve been given– our extraordinary Palestinian mothers.
My Mother was a talented psychologist, She wanted to implant in her children the perfect values and morals she knew.
Her unbreakable determination to raise an ideal family took her to convince my Father to sacrifice everything for the sake of returning to Gaza.
“From there we shall start our real life,” she said.
Her indescribable love and respect of him filled my life with many special values that made it happier in spite of the open air prison we are living in.
Once she proudly abandoned her job as a lecturer in a Red Crescent institution in order to take care of my elder brother when he got badly sick, and his life was in danger.
I still remember her bedtime stories. My favorite ones were those about the honesty of Muhammad, the tolerance and forgiveness of Jesus, the strong faith of pure Mary, the bravery of Moses, the wisdom of Abraham, Isaac, Elijah and all those other great messengers of God…
Her stories weren’t some of the imaginary ones; hers were wisely and carefully chosen.
So she has given me strong faith and opened up my heart to love every living soul.
Since my childhood, my Mother has prepared me to be honest and brave, to face the cruelty of our oppressor.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve never seen her either weak or pessimistic before.
In his last breath, my Father kissed her hand and died between her arms, with no screaming, but with only a delighted smile upon his beloved face, and a pure tear out of his dilated bewitching eyes.
It was expected that she’ll cry to collapse, but she did the hardest thing that can ever be done to her common sense.
She knew anything she’d do in that moment might damage her children’s souls, so she chose to remain silent.
But she couldn’t stop her spontaneity to whisper in his ears, “In heaven we shall meet, forever and ever my knight.”
Following that, she was granted a new great responsibility of being both Mother and Father to my two-year old brother, and four-year old sister (at that time), so she tried her best for so long to hide her deepest sadness.
But I’m still able to see through her eyes how pensive and hurt she is,
Every time she tries to cover up her heart’s bruises and cuts, I could see her questioning: “He could be living with us right now if Gaza wasn’t under blockade. If Israel doesn’t exist. If the world felt that we are equal humans. If we stayed in Egypt…”
For now, she is still maintaining her ever gracious, affectionate smile, her thankful prayers, and her optimistic kind words in order to keep our life warmly in balance and happiness.
She is the reason I am, she’s all my reasons, she’s everything I hold dear in this world now…
Once I asked her: “After my Father died, what about your life?”
She embraced me close to her heart and replied with proud teary eyes, and an appealing modulated voice —
“O, My life…
“My life was once great enough when my soul was rising to reach the stars every time your Father achieved something new.
“After we lost him, God compensated me with our beautiful children.
“Now I could see him in you and you r brothers, your characters, your craving, zealous souls for freeing this land.
“So my life will be perfectly fulfilled once you achieve what we all dreamed of.
“To bring peace once again to this holy precious land.”
Every single Gazan mother has the same passion as my Mother, and much more.
It’s not something special, it’s something very common here.
That’s why I strongly believe:
We will never be overwhelmed, nor beaten.
We will never give up.
We will never lose hope…