Interviewing a Martyr's Mother
By: Majida Ismail Raya
I snatched my pen, carried my blank sheets, and stepped
forward towards that blue gate that led to a wide path,
splitting the garden into two equal parts.
My head was packed with confusing questions, looking for
answers. I came here to conduct an interview with Um Yasser,
the mother of the martyr who fell in the recent unique
operation. I was driven by a great desire, wishing to hear
every word she may utter. However, I lingered in my steps
wondering: "What made me linger? Was it the majestic meeting
with the mother of the martyr? Or was it the scent that
emanates from the soil and penetrates my bones? I didn't
I took a deep breath until my lungs were full with air and
proceeded forward towards the main door of the house.
The sky was darkened with drizzly clouds, the drops of which
decorated the bare branches and drew my attention. They were
like tears of dew.
Adjacent to the wall, an ancient oak tree
rose with pride; its green colors brightened further by the
rain drops to glow like a green jewel.
The colors of winter embraced each other in that garden,
where January brought its harshness to the trees, except for
one that insisted to maintain its eminence, the roses of
which bloomed with pink, defying the bitterness of the cold.
It took me several minutes to cross this short path and
reach finally the main doorstep. I knocked the door gently,
and a young girl opened, leading me to where her mum sat
I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere of that room. Was it
different from the other rooms? Despite the simplicity of
the furniture and the decoration, yet it mirrored a great
taste, creating strange stillness. No, this certainly was
not the reason behind such feeling; perhaps the reason was
that woman who stood up to welcome me with greetings. She
was in her fifties with some lines of wrinkle beginning to
appear on her face. However, this did not stop her face from
keeping its beauty, drawing your attention to glance at its
After her welcoming and greeting, I sat before her to write
each word shy may utter. I was trying to write down some of
her passion as she spoke about her everlasting love, which
remains present inside her heart.
In conclusion, my question was: "What is your utmost wish
for the present?"
Her eyes watered with tears and her choking voice made the
pen tremble in my hand. She said: "I wish to go to the very
place where my son martyred in order to plant a rose."
I could not hold myself and cried with tears. I said, "I
hope your wish comes true when this land is liberated."
The dawn of May 25, 2000 arrived with the odor of victory
and liberation. The Israeli enemy has been defeated. Its
troops withdrew from most of the lands of south Lebanon.
People were racing towards the dream that came true with
each person wishing to bless his breath by inhaling the air
from which he has been deprived for a long time.
I did not forget the wish of that woman. I decided to
witness its fulfillment. The officials in the resistance
made all the arrangements to take Um Yasser to the place
where her son had martyred—a rough location where it is
difficult to reach.
I stood in front of that house once more, but the news had
raced me to her. She was a woman in her fifties, waiting
with patience and reverence for her wish, which loomed in
the horizon for many years, to come true. The ground of the
garden was waving with green. The odor of her roses was
emanating with the colors of the life to reach everywhere. I
felt the warmth of the sun that mirrored lights of joy and
remedy. Anyone seeing her at that very moment could feel the
pulse of life.
The ancient oak tree continues to rise with pride, with
birds singing on its branches, telling the stories of
victory with the joy of spring.
When we met again, I smiled at her and she returned a smile
to quickly embrace me with eagerness. She looked at me and
asked me with a deep voice: "Did you come to witness the
fulfillment of my wish?" I gestured with my head in approval
and we went ahead together to the car that was waiting at
Vehicles were motoring like caravans towards the south,
where citizens of different towns and villages took to the
streets to celebrate victory and liberation. People were
dancing in circles along the roads and fields. Women cried
and sung with joy.
From time to time, I would look stealthily at the face of Um
Yasser, who was also observing what was going on outside the
car. I could see her eyes glowing with a light that
illuminated her heart.
Our car started going off the main road to take minor roads
until we reached our destiny after a long journey.
When the car stopped, Um Yasser exited to investigate the
place. Suddenly, she kneeled down to the ground reaching out
for the soil. She took a fistful of soil and smelled it,
took a deep breath and cried: "My son, your odor continues
to dwell here. I can see your spirit with the spirits of the
martyrs opening the gates of liberty, advancing people to
unify God and exclaim his greatness. I see that your wedding
on this very day is much greater than our wedding and your
joy is greater than hours. You are the living martyr, and
you are walking tall with pride."
Out of warm-heartedness, Um Yasser run her hand over the
soil from which her son's soul rose to heavens. One time she
would embrace his picture and other times she would kiss it.
My heart palpitated strongly while my senses could not help
me conceive her actions. We continued watching her
spontaneous actions with her improvised words that streamed
with warm feelings. She held the bud of the flower that she
brought with her and planted it in that very spot to
commemorate the loved one who planted his body in that
ground as a martyr.