Martyrs and Mothers

There have been innumerable articles not fit to print by The New York Times in its ignominious 162 year history possibly none more than an obituary in their March 23, 2013 issue.

The caption of Mariam Farhat’s eulogy reads ‘Mother of Martyrs’. 

She is the proud mother of three sons she encouraged to die in attacks against Israel.

In 2002 Farhat made a video with her then 17 year old son Mohammad to show support for his plans to kill. Mohammad then dutifully sets out to kill five Israeli students and he is shot to death.

A son fulfilling a mothers dream.

A normal mother the world over wishes for her son a good education, to marry, raise a family and to spoil her grandchildren.

This Palestinian mother eagerly encourages her son’s death. 

Contrast this glorification of wishing one owns children’s death with how civilized people comport themselves. 

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 war film depicting America’s invasion of Normandy.

Here is the story line as described by the filmmaker.

“Opening with the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Cpt. Miller fight ashore to secure a beachhead. Amidst the fighting, two brothers are killed in action. Earlier in New Guinea, a third brother is killed in action. Their mother, Mrs. Ryan, is to receive all three of the grave telegrams on the same day.

The United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, is given an opportunity to alleviate some of her grief when he learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, and decides to send out 8 men (Cpt. Miller and select members from the 2nd Ranger) to find him and bring him back home to his mother.”

In civilized societies mothers who place their children at risk of harm are charged with abuse neglect. Such children are immediately removed for their own safety. Life is valued.

In Hamasland mothers who place their children in harms way are glorified.

“I wish I had 100 boys like Mohammad”

Ms Farhat declares following his murderous rampage. And proudly two more sons Nidal and Rawas were also killed in clashes with Israel.

Menachem Begin, whom the British described as a terrorist, was a freedom fighter. He fought for a homeland for the right to live free. Sound familiar.  He was a fierce fighter a fearless leader who took great risks in battle. Never, never could he countenance sending is children or any soldier on a certain suicide mission simply to guarantee that a few British or Arabs would be killed. Begin valued life not death. 

“I brought up my children to be martyrs”.

Farhat tells her 4 year old grandson Imad that “you will be a martyr one day” like your father Nidal.

Farhat’s third son Wesam only served time in an Israeli prison. He survived and did not die a martyrs death. It seems that what was fit to print, was how truly disappointed his mother must be in him.


About the Author
David Mandel is Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services in New York