My grandson’s latest “trick” – is to hold a prayer book and move back and forth as he has seen his father do. He pretends he is reading; he even moves his lips. And now, he combines this praying with the act of giving another a blessing, as his father and mother give him each week.
So where before he put his hand on my head and said, quite exuberantly, “AMEN!” – now he puts his hand on my head, looks down at the prayer book and mumbles to himself. This is what parents should teach their children – to pray and bless others, to volunteer and help others.
No parent should encourage their child to blow himself up, to raise a gun towards innocent people and open fire. There is no honor in the deaths of three of Mariam’s children and as I think about her, I realize I have no words for her, no message for her. She wasted her life and those of her children on death and violence and hatred. She is nothing.
Instead, my message is to the world, to Obama who comes this week to Israel – this woman, this mother of martyrs, is a symbol of what we face every day. You cannot make peace with a woman willing…no, anxious, to sacrifice her sons (and daughters). You cannot compromise and hope for better days – all you can hope for is that her people realize there is nothing to be gained by raising sons to hatred.
Peace will come, when the Mariam’s of the world are silenced, buried, erased from the culture and society that raised them.
Yes, I am a soldier’s mother – perhaps that is the difference. We beg our soldiers to be careful, to value life. We teach them to do all they can to avoid hurting those who are innocent; to protect against those who would murder. A martyr is taught to kill; a soldier is taught to protect.
A martyr is taught that the value of life after death is equal to 72 virgins; a soldier is taught to honor and fight for his family, his people, his country. A martyr is praised for dying; a soldier rewarded for living.
Mariam wanted her sons to die – a glorious Jihad death taking as many innocent lives as possible with him. If there is one thing Mariam was not, it was a mother. She may have birthed children, but to be blunt, cows, horses, even pigs manage that feat. It is what you do after that determines your value as a mother. Mariam had none.
May God avenge the blood that Mariam’s sons spilled in hatred.
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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.
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