By Christina Tareq
Part I March 21, 2021
Today is Mother’s Day in Iraq, you know?
And other countries and nations in the region.
Mother’s Day is in March, the day comes with the Spring.
Thanks to American imperialism,
it now also comes with bombs, genocide, starvation, the end of things.
Happy Mother’s Day
to mothers in Fallujah,
who give birth to children who only live for 20 to 30 minutes.
Thanks to American chemical terrorism, pediatricians say
birth defects in Fallujah are ”incompatible with life."
Happy Mother's Day
to Yazidi, Assyrian, Kurdish and Arab mothers
who have sent their children across the sea and prayed for the best.
Happy Mother’s Day
to grandmothers whose grandchildren do not speak the same language as them
because survival means leaving home.
Can you grasp the grief of not speaking the same language
as your elders,
as your ancestors?
Happy Mothers Day
to mothers who are forced to bury their own children.
I could go on,
but I just wanted to remind you that today is Mother’s Day in Iraq.
Part II March 21, 2022
It’s been a year since I birthed this poem.
I'd come back expecting to wail with you,
beat our chests and scream into the wind together.
I sat ready to grieve.
I heard instead, the melodies of hope,
songs of resistance, the clapping of hands,
ululations at the defeat of one's enemy.
So much has happened since last Mother's Day.
I can hear Iraqi mothers cheering at the defeat of American imperialism in Afghanistan.
I can hear Iraqi mothers cheering for the mighty resistance of Gaza.
I can hear the prayers of Iraqi mothers for Yemeni freedom fighters,
who remain steadfast in the face of the most well funded militaries in the world.
Champions of God.
A new world order is being birthed
and oppressed mothers are leading the way.
I came to grieve
and instead, found hope today,
on Mother's Day, in Iraq.