Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Mother's Love Knows No Borders

A few weeks ago, while scrolling through Facebook, a picture caught my eye. It was posted by a friend, who had shared it from a friend of a friend's timeline.  It showed two mothers, one Israeli and the other Palestinian.  While the Israeli mother was holding her child in a sweet embrace, the Palestinian mother was toting her child on her left hip and at the same time hoisting a semi-automatic into the air with her right hand.  The caption read, "Can you find the difference?"
I was immediately shocked to see such divisive statement made by someone I know to be both thoughtful and generous. But this photo was neither.

The nationality of a person has nothing to do with their ability to love a child. When a baby is born, whether in Israel or Palestine, a mother is made. When she holds that baby for the first time, her heart expands so large that it is forced to live outside her body, staying alongside the child wherever she goes. In a matter of minutes a mother's fantasies of personal goals are replaced with hopes of what her child may become.

From the moment our children begin crawling, as mothers we become vigilant about the safety, wanting to ensure that the world around them is both secure and welcoming. We hope that life brings them love, adventure, and excitement. Most of all, we wish to watch them grow to experience all these triumphs and trials.  

But nowhere in the heart of a mother does she wish to have her child placed in the midst of warfare. There is no worse nightmare for a mother than to spend her days afraid for the welfare of her child -- the child whose pain is felt far more excruciatingly than her own.

So far over 160 Palestinians and 6 Israelies have lost their lives in this current conflict. Each of these victims was once a baby, held by his mothers who wished only the best for his future. Unless we can see beyond our fears and act beyond our loyalties to arbitrary borders, we cannot rise above the hatred that poisons this world for all of our children.

My children rest at night unafraid of missile strikes and air attacks. They know nothing of suicide bombers and settlements on occupied territories. As the winter holidays approach, I am increasingly grateful to be raising my children in an environment free of combat. But, I ache for those mothers less fortunate.
This is what the caption should have read.
There is No Difference
Palestinian Mother
Israeli Mother

The photo of the Palestinian mother was taken from the site Occupied Palestine.

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