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Why Palestinian mothers make joyful cries for their martyred sons
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Why Palestinian mothers make joyful cries  
for their martyred sons 

 

Mother of Martyr:

"We feel agony and pain" losing a child,

but we ululate - sound a cry of joy - 

"because our child is going to Heaven

to marry the Dark-Eyed Virgins"

 

"We do love our children, but also our homeland"

 

PA official:

"I am against ululations...
and against presenting ourselves

as a nation of barbarians who don't care  

about loss and deprivation...

When the world sees us carrying a Martyr
 and hears our ululations,

it thinks we have no feelings"

  

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

 

 

 

Palestinian women are often shown ululating - sounding cries of joy - over their "martyred" relatives. Mothers in particular are often shown expressing joy over their sons' Martyrdom-deaths. Palestinian Media Watch reported on the mother of one of the two terrorists who brutally murdered 5 in a synagogue in Jerusalem last year. The mother was shown reciting a poem honoring the dead killers while receiving guests in her mourning tent. During her recital, ululations were heard.

 

During the PA terror campaign (the Intifada, 2000-2005), official Palestinian Authority TV ran numerous video clips hundreds of times encouraging children to become "Martyrs" and their mothers to celebrate their deaths. The following is just one example:

 

"How sweet is Martyrdom (Shahada),
when I am embraced by you, my land! 
My beloved, my mother, most dear to me, 
be joyous over my blood, don't cry for me."

[Official PA TV, broadcast hundreds of times from 2001-2004]

 

Recently, PA TV broadcast an interview with the mother of a Martyr who gave a more nuanced explanation for the joyous reactions to the martyrdom-death of a child. This mother stated that she misses her dead son "every day" and that Palestinian women do "feel agony and pain." She explained that Palestinian mothers love their children "but also the homeland." The ululations, she clarified, are "because our child is going to Heaven to marry the Dark-Eyed Virgins":

 

A Martyr's mother: "We say 'praise Allah' for everything. It's our duty to give ourselves and our children. Praise Allah, it's true that this hurts and that we feel agony and pain. Today, every day and every moment, I miss my son. I'll never forget my son. It's true what they say that we ululate (i.e., make sounds of joy) for our [dead] children because our child is going to Heaven to marry the Dark-Eyed Virgins, Allah willing. May Allah make a dwelling for him in the highest Paradise. It's not that we don't love our children. We do love our children, but also our homeland. We say 'Allah willing' and maintain our resolve."

[Official PA TV, March 21, 2015]

Click to view 

 

The belief that “Martyrs,” including terrorists who murdered Israelis, are rewarded by Allah by marrying 72 Dark-Eyed virgins, is a central message promoted by the PA and Fatah. In October 2014, terrorist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi was killed by Israeli police after mowing down pedestrians at a light-rail station, killing two Israeli civilians, including an infant. PMW documented that Fatah's official death announcements for Al-Shaloudi did not refer to his "death" but to his "wedding":

 

“Fatah accompanies to his wedding the heroic Martyr Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi, who carried out the Jerusalem operation...” 

[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page”, Oct. 23, 2014]    

  

In addition to the mother who expressed grief over the death of her son, District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam recently encouraged Palestinian women to cry over their dead sons and men and show their true feelings of sadness. Ghannam stated that she is "against ululations, against restraining the emotions and against presenting ourselves as a nation of barbarians who don't care about loss and deprivation." [Official PA TV, March 21, 2015]

 

She seemed critical of Palestinian culture and its glorification of child Martyrs as fighters carrying weapons, because "the world... thinks we have no feelings":
 

"When the world sees us carrying a Martyr and hears our ululations, it thinks we have no feelings - especially when it's a child; for when a child dies as a Martyr, the first image we publish is of him holding a weapon."

 

Yet Palestinian Media Watch has shown that Ghannam herself repeatedly participates in the Palestinian tradition of honoring terrorists.

 

The following are longer excerpts of the interviews with the mother of a Martyr and Ghannam:

 

A Martyr's mother: "We say 'praise Allah' for everything. It's our duty to give ourselves and our children. Praise Allah, it's true that this hurts and that we feel agony and pain. Today, every day and every moment, I miss my son. I'll never forget my son. It's true what they say that we ululate (i.e., make sounds of joy) for our [dead] children because our child is going to Heaven to marry the Dark-Eyed Virgins, Allah willing. May Allah make a dwelling for him in the highest Paradise. It's not that we don't love our children. We do love our children, but also our homeland. We say 'Allah willing' and maintain our resolve..."

 

General Union of Palestine Workers Widad Manawil: "We tell all women to learn from the resolve of Palestinian women, from the one bidding her Martyr son farewell and the one welcoming her prisoner son with ululations."

[Official PA TV, March 21, 2015]

 

From an interview with District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam: 

Headline: "Ghannam to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: 'It is no shame for a mother to cry for her Martyred son'"

 

Q.: "Does a woman ululate out of joy for the death of one of her sons as a Martyr (Shahid), or for his imprisonment during all the years of the struggle?"

 

District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam: "I am against ululations (i.e., cries of joy), against restraining the emotions and against presenting ourselves as a nation of barbarians who don't care about loss and deprivation. In psychology, this is called denial, while we Palestinians have learned that it is pride. It is true that our culture talks of the Martyr's high standing and qualities, but when the world sees us carrying a Martyr and hears our ululations, it thinks we have no feelings - especially when it's a child; for when a child dies as a Martyr, the first image we publish is of him holding a weapon. The mother must express her feelings, and this is what I tell all the mothers I visit, for this is their right... "

 

Q.: "If you had a son and a daughter, would you let them participate equally in the various resistance activities, without fearing more for the girl than for the boy?"

 

Laila Ghannam: "Certainly, because I lived that life and my brothers are in jail. I am involved in organizational activity, and many have complained to my father that I get beaten and arrested for intervening in things that are none of my business, such as saving young people from the [Israeli] soldiers and participating in rallies. My father opposed sex discrimination, and said that this kind of intervention was characteristic of the family and that it was everyone's right."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 21, 2015]


 


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