Once upon a time, my mother was alive

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  Palestinian woman  Photo: Sharif Karim

Her body is cold. Really cold. She lisps no words; she catches no breaths; the sparkled eyes are centered somewhere on the ceiling, and she twinkles not. Her heart beats not; her very lovely smiles are seen not; she screams not, and she moves not. Everything around seems unusual—the white coffin she is enforced in, the keffiyeh over her shattered head, the spots of blood beneath her neck and the stained, dirty floor.

My mother –the passionate mother, the loving and soothing– was a mother, who left an infant child behind to tell this callous world of her own story. She grew young— she grew up—she grew old—she loved—she smiled—she laughed –she cried—she wept—and she is gone! An Israeli airstrike penetrated her heart. The heart that could flood the whole world with tenderness, sympathy, passion and love was uprooted by an Israeli female soldier (or mother), whose heart is a place where darkness, inhumanity and arrogance advance, as she advances in age.

That was ten years ago, when the Aqsa Intifada first erupted. I myself was 11 years old. Never had I thought that my mother would die in front of my eyes. I remember every minute detail; the sun was hung in the middle of the sky, and schools’ students were rushing home. My mother and I were going to pick up my brother, but the Israeli Apaches hit us. They alleged that they targeted a passing resistance leader. They targeted us, actually. I survived somehow because my mother embraced me tightly to her chest, and jammed me to the ground. She got all the hits. And died!

For moments I was lost in thought, and I became a grownup. I promised the sacred corpse to tell the whole story. I always begin with “once upon a time, my mother was alive”.

About Waleed al-Meadana

Waleed al-Meadana is a 21-year-old Palestinian. His grandparents were expelled from Jaffa. He is a lecturer at the University College of Applied Sciences (UCASGaza).

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9 Responses

  1. just
    August 1, 2012, 10:38 am

    What a beautiful and heartbreaking tribute.

    I feel as though I know both her and you.

    Thank you. May your pain ease with the comfort that your Mother must be so very proud of you.

  2. Susie Kneedler
    August 1, 2012, 10:44 am

    Thank you, Waleed. I’m awed by you, your inspiring work and words, your breath-taking tribute to your precious mother with her total love for you and your brother.

  3. Pamela Olson
    August 1, 2012, 11:29 am

    Thank you, Waleed. Allah yerhamha. She would be proud that you have become such an eloquent witness and writer.

  4. Waleed Meadana
    August 1, 2012, 12:16 pm

    I wrote about my friend’s affliction. His name is Mohammed. It’s his mother I am talking about. He told me the whole story and I shed lights on parts of it using the first person narration because most Palestinians share the same story. It never came to my mind that you would think it is my mother. Sorry because I did not make these things clear throughout the text.

    My mother is alive. I offer Mohammmed all my condolences !!

    • Annie Robbins
      August 1, 2012, 12:51 pm

      waleed, thank you for the explanation. when i read it i assumed you were writing in the first person narrative but did not assume it was your own personal story. it is very powerful in its simplicity. i am sure there are many children who have lost their parents in this conflict, and adults as well who lost their parents when they were young. it is important to give voice to this kind of pain and emotion. thanks again.

  5. just
    August 1, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Waleed– as I felt before, your Mother must be very proud of you, and I am happy that she is still alive and able to kiss your eyes.

    And thank you for remembering Mohammed’s Mother so beautifully

  6. Refaat
    August 1, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Waleed is a solid talent… Keep writing, bruv.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 1, 2012, 4:50 pm

      absolutely a solid talent.

      and thanks to rawan for choosing such a gorgeous graphic.

  7. YoungMassJew
    August 2, 2012, 12:56 am

    Waleed, thank you for sharing your friend Mohammed and his mother’s story. Words can not describe how I felt reading this from my affluent bubble with a sizable Jewish population. I wish I could get more Jewish people to read these stories. I offer all my condolences to Mohammed as well.

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