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Children And A Verdict(*) On Mother's Day

"Children remember their parents and grandparents
by the gifts they leave behind! " Atlantis, the movie

It was as if someone had reached into Fa'eda's chest cavity, split her rib cage open, pulled out her heart, chewed on it for a while and then spat it out. She felt her heart mercilessly bounce like a Ping-Pong ball, thrown, jiggled, kicked in the gravel and stepped on endlessly; unable to pick it up. "eradat Allah wa Allahu ghalib" was what she kept telling herself –for it was her only comfort. She was a helpless twenty-six year old mother of one ill boy, Nor-adeen.
Fa'eda was suffocated by a powerful instinct, her motherly love. The only remedy for her severe and unbearable pain was to hold her dying son tightly and closely in her arms and not let go. Silently and with blood-shot eyes she shed what was left of her tears. Nor-adeen, with eyes half the size of his head and skin-only-covered skeleton, lay motionless in her arms. He was nurturing from his mother's warmth and through it he felt her agony. Her sobbing was rocking him. Suddenly, he looked-up into her sad eyes, consoling her with the only way he knew how and for the last time he softly uttered:"Mother... I ...want... to... be... a... teacher... when... I... grow-up"!

Indeed are gut-wrenching and moving words! Words could have been put on the lips of a dying four and a half-year-old boy only by angels. Words that likely rattled the gates of heaven and may have even startled E'zrael and brought him the idea of a mutiny.
The mother's dripping tears turned into floods, and her cries became louder. She wished she could trade places with him; that was all she had left to give her perishing son. A nurse heard the boy's final words, pulled up a chair and spoke, "I am your student, and my dear Nor-adeen you are my teacher".

While the young boy was silently teaching the nurse, his mother looked on. They could read and hear the messages through his eyes; messages if decoded will fill volumes. But, the once sparkling eyes were now dying candles and quickly going out. Nor-adeen did not let go easy. He fought to keep his eyelids open and go-on teaching. He fought like a young and promising warrior who did not fear death. It was, like all humanity, his time to go. He lost the fight. It was... his eminent yet very premature worldly-departure. Nor-adeen, was never to open his eyes again.

Nor-adeen was so sincere, so hopeful, so innocent, so little but giant in courage, unfortunately for all, his life was unjustly snatched away.

This is, yet again my friends, a sample of what many of our people are experiencing. The pain, the agony and the support of no one are touching almost every family in Qaddafi's Jamahiria. This incident, Nor_Adeen's, took place under the ceilings and in the walls of the children's hospital in our beautiful city of Benghazi. Nor-adeen contracted the HIV virus in the same hospital in which he visited for a routine toddler check-up. He was on his death bed when had a silent but lengthy talk his mother. They exchanged so much and it was done mostly, if not only with eye contact. For her dying son, the mother was all ears and for his sorrowful mother, the boy was all eyes. For three years, the young mother's trips to the hospital, if summed-up, would probably be halfway around the globe.

Nor-adeen had seen only a photo of his father, Emraje'. He wasn't born yet when his father mysteriously disappeared. The mother and the rest of the family had no clue and had no help from the officials as to what had happened to her new husband and how Nor-adeen became ill. Allah-fearing young man, Emraje', was closing on three months into his marriage when he was last seen. People who knew him well say Emraje' never missed his five daily prayers, of which most if not all, were conducted at the mosque. He was the unpaid janitor and the maintainer of the same mosque he prayed at. The last they saw of him was at dawn prayer on Friday, March 29th, 1996. The same people declare that it was not of Emraje''s character to just disappear and leave a pregnant bride behind. Only few months ago, a distant reletive of the family was informed that Emraje' was seen in Abu-sleem prison and that his health was ailing.

Now, Emraje' who has been in jail for five years, never knew he had a son, let alone the son he once had, Nor-adeen, had just passed away. Sadly, they may both meet one another for the first time ever somewhere else. Given the state of his health, Emraje' might be on his way as you read these lines.

Yet again, we Libyans, have been denied having one bright, enthusiastic, and promising mentor...little Nor-adeen.

To Fa'eda and to all Mothers in my home on your day:

With so little, you had and continue to make ends meet.

You are the first to wake up in the morning, straight to work and on the move all day, and you are last to go to sleep.
Many of you neither knew how to read nor how to write, yet, raised an average of six children, in double digits for some of you; you packed them with morals and decency.
You do almost all the work of our celebrations and our gatherings of any kind.Since the dawn of time, complaining was never in your dictionary.The unconditional love for your children and the lioness in you to protect their wellbeing.
You eat leftovers and at times there weren't any. I witnessed some of you eat charcoal –was it a hunger call? I will always wonder.Different occasions come and go; you are the first to celebrate and display emotions accordingly –zagharoota for happiness and cries that can be echoed across the valleys for sadness.
Many of you lived rough life and departed this world, yet, some of your children, including I, failed miserably to do the minimum –walking and praying in your funeral.
Some will arrogantly disagree that you are a second-class citizen in your own society; I'll argue and say things would be different and much better if you weren't!
You put your unconditional trust in your partner, the men; many disappoint you but you always adhere to the inherited "manly" decree.
You have met the unfair distribution of workload with enthusiasm and you always bring it to completion.
The list goes-on, dear mothers, and I will never be able to name it all but inlue of my inability to do that:
You are and will always be my hero!
Happy Mothers day!

(*) Nor-Aldeen's story was first published here on LN&V July 11th, 2001 and was titled "A child Of Benghazi In His Last Words" I have been touched by it ever since. The court verdict of last week and yesterday's Mother's day prompted me to kindly ask Dr. Ibrahim to re-publish it and to share it with his readers once again.

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