Mujaahid and Hiyaat called last night. Hearing my son’s voice always brings me a mixture of relief, knowing that he and his family are alright, and a sort of sad helplessness, knowing that their situation is still so difficult and there is nothing I can do about it except provide support and encouragement, and always, always pray for them, knowing that it is only Allaah Who will assist them and bring them out from under this oppression.
Baby Yasmeen is on another round of antibiotics- her third in as many weeks- and is still suffering from the thrush. The nagging cough and mucus are holding on…I think what a tough introduction to life this little girl is getting, having spent half of her life already sick, mash’Allaah. I hear little Suhayb in the background, baby talking urgently to his mama; Mujaahid tells me that Suhayb had gone over to his grandparent’s house to eat and then wanted to come home because they do not have any candles or other lights and have to sit in the darkness once the sun sets. Apparently he went out without anyone at that house knowing, and Mujaahid and Hiyaat heard him calling “Mama! Mama!” and crying in the street. All praise is to Allaah, he had found his way home, but he was upset and scared. Mujaahid puts him on the phone.
“Khuftu, Shaari’” he tells me, his little voice urgent. I was scared, in the street.
As would I be, wise little boy.
Still no let up in the blockade. Apparently negotiations are ongoing, as they have been for weeks. Even the local doctor is in on the talks, so Mujaahid had to call a pediatrician in a nearby town to prescribe for Yasmeen. Of course, the clinic is over where all the shooting is, so it wouldn’t be possible to get there even if the doctor was in. Mujaahid did manage to get over to that side of town to buy the medicines, though. The students have constructed some sort of trench going across the wadi, so that part of the walk is relatively safe. I have learned a lot about that word, relative, in the past few weeks, mash’Allaah.
The stores are basically empty. The village has no electricity, so without candles many people simply have to sit in the dark after sunset until they go to their beds, early. It is cold in the mountains. Mujaahid said they borrowed a tent from someone and the four of them sleep in it in their house, in an attempt to keep warmer through the long winter nights. His father in law was able to purchase a small amount of milk and some barley that day. Apparently the villagers broke into the unoccupied houses and took any food they could find and sold it, so a few things were made available, such as small quantities of staples and perhaps some canned goods. The government school, which has been closed for a long while now, had some wheat stored in the building. The Sheikh of the community purchased 100 bags of this wheat to be ground and used for the single students, who depend on the center for their food. They had previously been eating summer squash grown by the villagers, twice a day. That, and only that. I’m sure they are thanking Allaah for that wheat just about now.
“Maybe they could make zucchini bread,” I suggest, and Mujaahid laughs. He tells me how upset the pediatrician he talked to had been over the situation, asking about the availability of food and medicines.
“He’s upset, and so are a lot of other people,” he says. Unspoken is the question of why this immense injustice is allowed to go on. I think of the decades of the oppression in Palestine, and the similar situations of injustice and oppression of many people all over the world.
“I don’t know,” I say. “The people get arrogant, they don’t think they will be punished for what they do. We know, though, that the justice will come, and it will come through Allaah.” We talk a bit more about how difficult it must be for people who don’t believe that- as it is the fitrah, or inherent nature, of humanity to desire justice.
Later, my husband compares it to the kid on the playground talking bad about a bigger boy, not knowing that the bigger and more powerful kid is right behind him, listening. I laugh, and it takes a little bit of the load off of my heart.
And so I continue to write this journey, no matter how personal, and how painful, because I want the people to know. Not just for the sake of knowledge, but so they will examine their own lives, and be thankful. It is a story that should be told, and listened to. But the biggest reason I tell this story is so that the people will pray, and their prayers will help my son and his family can find justice, and peace, insh’Allaah.
So as always, until then, we wait, and we pray. Together.