Your mother has been operated, the neighbor wrote from the hospital in Aleppo.
My mother has breast cancer. At least that’s what I think. I suddenly received a message from my parents’ neighbor last week. She was in bed with my mother, in a hospital in Aleppo. “Your mother has undergone surgery,” she wrote. I had my mother on the phone almost every day that week, but she told me nothing about her operation. ,,You could have noticed”, said my mother. ,,I said in the last conversation several times that you had to take good care of your brother? I thought I was going to die during the operation”. My mother is being operated, she does not know when that will be, only that there was something very big in her chest that had to be removed immediately. Last summer it became known that the woman of the president in Syria, Asma al-Assad, has breast cancer. As she undergoes her treatments, she has given all women in Syria the opportunity to also test for breast cancer. My mother also went and was told that she had to be operated immediately the next day. “What have I done to get this life?”, m y mother said. “First the poverty, then the war, my one son far away and my other son in hiding for the army. And then I’m still seriously ill now”. It all hurts. That she is ill, that she loves her life so much and that I did not know anything about her illness. Although it is painful, I understand. In recent years there have been times when things did not go well for me. I did not tell her that either, because I did not want to worry her. If I ever get a daughter, I call her Suhaila, after my mother. I hope I can give that girl the life my mother wanted.
I myself am 28 years old, and am still on the platform.
Women in the Netherlands, sometimes I feel sorry for them. Parents teach their daughters that there are many liberties for them. They can work, study, cut their hair, everything they want. Personal development is the highest good. I spoke with a friend of almost 40 years. She has everything she wants. A car, a house and a good job. “Anwar, I got a lot of things,” she said. ,,But I am alone. I have no husband or children”. There are many women like her. They have completely plunged into their personal development. If they are very far with it, they only look around. With whom will I share my life? Sometimes it is too late, because they can no longer have children. “The train has already left for you,” we say in Arabic.
In Syria you learn as a girl from an early age how you can take good care of your future family. You learn that it is important to start your own family. A Syrian woman will not look up suddenly at the age of 35 and realize that she is alone. Her life focuses first on creating a family. This is followed by personal development. It is an order that appeals to me because there is always time for personal development. That train is never gone. I myself am 28 years old, and am still on the platform. I hope, as often in my life, on the best of both worlds. A woman who develops personally but in the meantime looks up. Then we take the train together.