You come into this world with a piercing wail, hands raised in tiny fists, and your mother weeps. For she knows that with time, the strength in you will fade. Your voice will be left unheard, muted by the sound of droning planes, of gun blasts and protestors and her own hefty cries. She weeps because the name she has given you will be stripped away, forgotten by the world, just like it has forgotten the name of the country you were born into. She weeps because you will grow up calling the patrolled and rubbled streets, home. You will grow up thinking dusty hair and crumbling buildings are just the way things are. You will grow up knowing the names of your brothers though you will never see their faces. You will grow up with memories of friends who were there one day, and gone the next. Memories of neighbors who smiled at you yesterday, but who will stare up at you from the ground with rolled eyes and broken limbs, tomorrow. You will grow up knowing that the world is divided with borders, people are divided with lies.
Your mother holds you to her chest, hands trembling, and she weeps, because you will grow up staring out towards an orange sky streamed with trails of smoke, understanding that you may not grow up at all.
You come into this world and your father cries. For while he is now a father, he is no longer a husband. He weeps because his daughter will not know her mother’s embrace. Or the love that softened the features of her face. You will grow up raised by two hands instead of four; a family with lost limbs. He weeps because he does not know if he has the strength, the will, to give the comfort only a mother gives. The care only a mother shows. The love only a mother feels. He weeps because one day you will ask him what happened, and you will have to live with the burden of the truth. He weeps because when he looks at you, he is reminded not of what was gained, but what was lost, and he weeps because he is afraid you will see it too.
You came into this world with a still heart, and your mother and father weep. They weep with grief because they will never see their son smile, never hear you laugh. They weep because the pain that pierces their chests will never heal. And yet they cry in relief because you will not feel the hunger that hollows their stomachs. You will not faint from the heat of the sun, seeping through poorly thatched roofs. You will not know the thirst that dries them from the inside out, that cracks their lips and makes them bleed. You will not count the ribs on your body beneath thin stretched skin. You will not see your sisters close their eyes and not open them again. You will not stand in line until your knees bend, waiting for food rations that never come.
Your parents lay you to rest with thousands of others, and they weep because you will never look up at them with wide questioning eyes asking for a reason, and they weep because now they will not have to give an answer.
You come into this world and your mother weeps, because you are a girl. She cries not out of disappointment, but because she cannot protect you from the evil of man. She cries because she will not be able to shield you from their prying eyes. From their thrashing sneers and lustful grabs. She cries because she cannot bear the thought of you going through the same pains she did, before she had you. The shame, the helplessness, the fury that encompassed her body. She cries because one day, no matter how tight she holds your hand, you will realize that all the power and honor of being a woman, can be stripped away by the hands of man.
You come into this world greeted by bright lights and the cheers of your parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle, crowding in the white hospital room with fresh flowers in a blue vase and a teddy bear larger than you. They cheer because you are their lineage. Their pride and joy. They will watch you grow up in their arms and in their love and in their protection. They will see you take your first steps in their garden. They will pamper you on every birthday, every holiday. They will educate you for greater things. And you will grow up surrounded by love. You will experience heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, but never discomfort. You will see only a glimpse of those that are broken, lives that have been torn apart. The horrors of war on television will remain just that. You will go to school, college, get a job. You will be celebrated every step of the way. And one day, you will find someone and create your own story, and you will greet another with a warm embrace in a white hospital room, with fresh flowers, cheers and love.