Yours is the face we wake up to,
through our eyes and in our minds,
and the face that wishes us to sleep
the night the missiles fall.
Yours are the eyes that glisten like the rain
that puts out the phosphorus flames.
Tears of sorrow and joy.
Yours is the nose that knows
the difference between two za’tars,
the difference between smoke from home
and smoke from where home once stood.
Yours is the smile that promises to stay,
facing the fuming military men.
Resistance of this kind doesn’t fail.
Yours are the cheeks that cushioned our heads
since the very first of our days.
Roles reversed but occupied still,
rest your head on mine, mama.
Yours is the neck that has never curved
nor bowed to oppression of any kind.
Dignity is your weapon of choice.
Yours are the creases and the wrinkles,
etched as proudly as our history,
each representing a trial and tribulation
of a mother stolen from.
And yours is the son, the daughter, the Palestinian child
who will hold your hand
and bring you home.
I know of no other group of individuals in the entire world that has experienced, on a long-term scale, the vast range of emotions that Palestinian mothers have experienced. For decades, every success, every moment of pride, every ray of hope has been met with a strangling occupation serving no other purpose than to break the spirits of Palestinians worldwide. Yet the occupation can’t ever prevent them from raising the generations of Palestinians defiantly chipping away at the occupation and its prejudiced foundations.
We are often asked about the heroes of our movement. Government figures make international headlines and aid agencies demand recognition but at the core of our struggle is that very same woman who nurtured and instilled in us the dignity that comes with the Palestinian identity. Our Palestinian mothers are the ones who make up the backbone of the struggle as they are the ones who teach us, live for us, and dedicate themselves to presenting us with the sovereignty and the land that was once stripped away from them decades ago.
The heavens lie beneath the ankles of our mothers, right above the native soils we will soon set free. Mama, this one’s for you.