I cut these posts from the Brit paper, the Guardian. Thought it was pretty insightful. I guess mothers on both sides know the anguish of having their children die..
The Iraqi mother
‘I heard screams, shouting and gunfire. My son was dead’Sayida al-Hassan, 27, a mother and widow who lives in Mosul
You want to know what the last three years has meant for me? It has been a confusing mixture of grief, humiliation and hope. I will first tell you about the grief. It was at the end of 2003. I remember I was outside in the yard washing the clothes.
I heard a commotion outside in the street. I saw a big American armoured vehicle, I don’t think it was a tank, turning into our street. It was followed by lots of the local children, including my two boys, who were running, shouting and waving at the American soldiers. The soldiers looked very smart and I wondered who did their washing for them when their mothers were not around. Then the vehicle stopped and they got down and started handing sweets to the children.
They seemed very friendly. I called inside to my husband, Mohammed, who was as usual sitting there doing nothing. I told him to go and check on the two boys and while he was there ask the soldiers for a job. Mohammed used to be in the army in Saddam’s time, but he spoke some English and I thought he could be of use.
To tell the truth I was fed up with him in the house all the time, giving me orders when I was the one who did all the work. Anyway, he grumbled and got off his chair and went down the street towards the soldiers. Then there was a bang like the end of the earth and the wall around my house fell like it was made of paper. I could see a big cloud of smoke and then I heard screams and shouting and gunfire. I knew it was a bomb. I raced out on to the street and saw Jassim, his face was black, running towards me crying. He said he was standing with his brother but he didn’t know what had happened to him. I shouted for him and for my husband, but there was no finding them. Later my neighbour told me a suicide bomber had driven into the street – driven at the American vehicle. My neighbour told me that six children had been killed, including my Saif. He was only five. Also my husband was dead.
Since that day, our life has been so hard. It is very tough for a widow and a mother. Everyone forgets us. I am hopeful people will listen to women instead of pushing us around. It is Iraqi women who have suffered most. We have to keep our families together while mourning our dead.
When the bomb went off I was pregnant. Four months later I had a baby girl. I think when she grows up she will not have the problems that we have had. I will make sure she gets a good education.
The American mother
‘Bush doesn’t cry for our soldiers’Diane Santoriello, of Verona, Pennsylvania, lost her son, Neil, who was serving with the US Army’s 1st Division near Falluja. He was killed in action on 13 August, 2004. He was 24
The day I heard that my son had died I heard the doorbell go and then I heard this horrible sound that I realised was my husband screaming. I came down and saw a minister, a police officer and a soldier. I think my mind just wanted to screen out the military uniform. I saw my husband and I thought his father had died. Then my mind cleared and I saw the soldier and I started screaming too. I knew if Neil had been wounded they would telephone. If he had been killed they would have sent an officer.
Neither of us has slept a good night’s sleep since Neil died. It tested my faith in God. For a while I just could not pray. I had lost the idea of what to say to God.
Joining the military had always been an ambition of Neil’s. I had raised my kids with the idea that it was a good thing to do service, to improve the world. That is what he wanted and I am very proud of him. He had a great feeling for the Iraqi people and I know he took good care of his men. I know he served with honour and he won medals for his bravery.
I have trouble looking at George Bush’s face when I see him on the television. I just cannot bear to see his smirk. There is a song called ‘Arlington’. It has the line: ‘There’s a big White House sits on a hill just up the road. The man inside he cried the day they brought me home’. Well, Neil is buried at Arlington and I don’t buy that line at all. Bush didn’t cry at all for our soldiers. He did not cry at all. It is us parents who do all the crying.