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This poem is in the voice of the mother of a Palestinisn suicide bomber. I don't think she would agree that the preferred term "sacred explosion" is better, though in the New Yorker article from 2001 that I read the interviewees insisted upon it, saying that Islam forbids suicide but not this form of military operation, the use of "human bombs." Apparently there is no dearth of volunteers, or were none at the time of the start of the second Intifada, as many young men clamored to be picked for the next mission, though only a few were actually chosen, supposedly by Allah himself. In any event, though this is not a true story, some of the words spoken here are actual words quoted in the article from a Palestinian mother. Note that green birds on a purple sky is the symbol of the Palestinian martyr, a reference to the same green birds of Paradise. No political opinion is intended by the poem, except a condemnation of war and violence in all its forms, and a commentary on the effects on those left behind, specifically the mothers.
AFTERWARDS, WHAT THE MOTHER SAID
My son has flown in the bosom
of the green birds of Paradise
into the garden of Allah. I could not stop
the grindstone of fate from turning, his striving
in Allah’s cause was all. I knew
nothing. I did not know
he had become al shaheed al hayy, “the living
martyr,” until after he had died, after
those small emerald birds – strange happening!
how they flocked a green cloud
to perch on the roof opposite
for nearly an hour calling softly before
flying on to where he was no longer
only a shred of the clean shirt
I’d washed just the night before and a few pages
of his Koran left to identify him. You ask
am I happy that he has joined the martyrs?
You ask if I rejoice to be the mother
of a hero? I have lost my son
to a war as useless as all wars are useless, killing
as many of us as of them. Inshallah
he is at peace now with his God
and we will meet again in Paradise,
but had I known of his plans
I would have taken a blade, sliced open my heart
and crammed him deep inside.
I would have seamed it tight to keep him safe.
I would never let him go.
For a complete change of subject, here is a recipe for veggie patties that are quite good, though wholly invented by yours truly. They are meant to use Okara, the soybean residue left over after making soymilk, but you may substitute well drained and cooked, mashed beans of any sort, though it will affect the flavor. I would suggest well-cooked chickpeas or some kind of white beans. If you can get, soak, cook and mash soybeans, those of course would be best. Near East Falafel mix is the only one I know, and the one this recipe relies on. It may be that others would work, though you are on your own in terms of amounts if you do. I found this falafel mix at Stop and Shop in the rice section, next to the specialty and flavored rices.
Soybean Okara-Veggie burgers
Okara (or mashed cooked soybeans) 2 C
1 box NEAR EAST Falafel mix
1 ¼ C water
breadcrumbs, seasoned, enough to form mix into patties c. 1-2 C
sunflower seeds 1 ½ C or to taste
Mix all ingredients and let sit 10 min. Add more breadcrumbs as necessary. (If mixture has accidentally become too dry, add an extra egg and/or a small amount of water.) You can taste dough and add Adobo to taste. Form into patties by taking small ladle or ice cream scoop and measuring even amounts. Each patty should be the size of a small hamburger 2"- 3" diameter. Bake 350℉ for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Top should be slightly browned and crusty and inside hot but moist. May be served on a bun or with eggs for breakfast or brunch (delicious that way). And of course, you can eat it plain with your fingers, as I do!
Finally, something really strange but useful!
Uses for Bounce fabric softener
The US Postal service sent out a message to all letter
carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets
to keep yellow jackets away. Use them all the time when
playing baseball and soccer. Use them when working outside.
It really works. The yellow jackets just veer
around you. And all this time you've just been putting
Bounce in the dryer!
It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.
It also repels mice. Spread them around foundation areas, or
in trailers, cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from
entering your vehicle.
It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't
get opened too often.
Repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop
when outdoors during mosquito season.
Eliminates static electricity from your television (or
computer) screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling,
wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust
Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of
Freshen the air in your home. Place an individual sheet of
Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.
Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.
Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through
sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce
inside empty luggage before storing.
Freshen the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under
the front seat.
Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a
pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The antistatic
agent apparently weakens the bond between the food.
Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at
the bottom of the wastebasket.
Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce
will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the
blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet
of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet
of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your
shoes or sneakers overnight.
Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the
Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before
folding and storing them. Keeps them smelling fresh.