As a journalist, it is easy to become numb to the many stories that we hear day in and day out. We are often swarmed in narratives that follow pain and suffering, but on this Mother’s Day, I think back to an inspiring story that really changed the way that I viewed motherhood altogether.
While looking through archival news content about the war in Syria, I came across a video by BBC News : “Migrants crisis: “Where do we go?” The story featured an audio interview of a Syrian family from Homs. Hamza, an English teacher, fled from Homs with her husband, two daughters 14 and 18, and 8-year-old son on a four-year journey to a camp in Hungary. In the interview, she tells of their journey from Greece on a small rubber boat, where the water reached their necks. She recalls having to throw out everything on board, and when asked about her experience approaching the border, she states,
“ … the police were throwing bombs through the forest across the fence. We were cutting the wire of the fence and tried to hold each other and run. I was trying to push them in front of me. I didn’t care if the policeman stopped me. I wanted my children to be in safe . If I don’t cross the borders it’s ok. I just want my family in safe.”
According to the UN Refugee Agency , over one million Syrians have registered as refugees since the beginning of 2013. Of this percentage, women and children make up three-quarters of the refugee population. Many have crossed the border into Turkey, with some then crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Greece, and on to western and northern Europe as mentioned in the story above.
Stories such as these are not a rare sort, but what we often tend to forget is that these women are not only refugees, but most importantly, they are mothers. Acknowledging their motherhood separate from their experiences is a way for us to see ourselves in their stories. Too often, mothers who are refugees take on an identity that solely represents their current state, and in turn disregards their virtuous characteristics. In stories such as Hamza’s, we see a picture of a mother’s strength, courage, love, and resilience, and this is what we forget to acknowledge, and most importantly celebrate.
As my mother often stated, “motherhood is a journey ,“ and this is exactly what these women are on. Their experiences may not mirror ours, but shifting their identity to “mothers who are solely on a journey” protecting, providing, sacrificing, loving, and upholding just like the mothers we are celebrating today, restores the way we see each other and the value we put on motherhood across cultures.
On this Mother’s Day, let us remember and keep in mind the many mothers who are on a journey quite unlike ours , and know that despite our differences, there is only one who deserves to be celebrated today, and her name is “Mother”, no matter where she is.
Reference to Migrants crisis: “Where do we go?” asks a Syrian mother – BBC News ( 4 September 2015)
by : Angelica Ekeke