I find an excuse to get out of the dorm. My look reaches out beyond the fences and the bars of the camp where a crowd of women with black gowns and veils can be well identified. There are men next to them who shout something with clenched, raised fists. They are not too distanced for our ear to hear them. A little concentration and by listening to the echoed sounds of the speakers, it becomes clear that they are mothers who are picketing behind the gates of Camp Ashraf for months to meet their children.
It is not too hard to perceive they are shouting something synchronous with the Mother’s Day. I dig into my mind to better remember the day they are referring to. During all the years I spent in Ashraf, I hardly remember to have heard about celebration of the Mother’s Day to appreciate her. Whatever I remember concerns a variety of discussions all about how to kill familial emotions and how to clean our memory of them. The worst unforgivable error we dared to mention in our daily report was a mental flashback to the family. And the glare our responsible-rank gave us was so horrible as if we had committed a big crime. And gradually we came to learn that family and any remembrance of it had to be put within a red-line and forbidden territory.
Looking at the silhouette of the angry crowd surrounded by the raised cloud of dust, my mind flies back to the past. To twenty-five years ago when I was a young man full of spirit and encouraged by a promising future. When I supplicated my mother to pray for me and she did after each daily prayer. When my heart was full of my family’s love. And the last memory was a gift, purchased by my father’s help, I presented to my mother in one of the cold days of March in 1986. I remember nothing else. Now after all these years I feel the air filled with the love of mothers who long to see their children only a few hundred meters far from them, the children who can find excuses from time to time to glance at the float of emotions from the far. My illusion was flaying in a hope to visualize a distant visage of my mother among the crowd and I sharpened my ears to hear a voice somehow close to her tone.
What I tried was futile. The heat here is too high and I am drawn back to the cold winter of the countryside around Tajrish, to a cold, snowy day in March 1986. To a warm room whose misted glass symbolically predicted my vague and dark future. And the memory of a mother who I don’t know how many springs and winters later where, when and why passed away without the least hope and news from her son.
And I was here, I don’t know how many years later, when they informed me of my mother’s death written on a piece of paper, attached by a simple condolence note, without a precise date. I am still looking at the mass of mothers far before me. And behind them, my eyes fix on the mirage formed at end of an asphalt road.