The Westgate terrorism attack in Kenya left many wondering about what has become of mothers in today's world. Putting things into context, historically women have been praised as givers of life. They are praised for their soft spot in their hearts that makes them beg for the preservation of life even for the worst criminals who have committed unforgivable evils in the eyes of men. Even mothers to the hardest criminals take their last breathe while still trying to protect their children from the hands of the hangman. This is the love of a mother as I know it. Unconditional, pure and forgiving. This is the love that makes a mother sacrifice her comfort for nine months to give life to an innocent soul. This is the love that makes mothers leave big executive jobs and become housewives so as to watch their children grow in good health and with all the hapiness in the world: just that they do not know loneliness and that they acquire confidence to face the world and conquer it.
This role mother's play in the life of a child is a univeral role that is not limited to their own biological children. If for instance a woman sees a child playing in the middle of the road with a fast oncoming vehicle, the first instinct that kicks in is to rush over and drag the child from the imminent danger. Whether the woman knows the child is immaterial at that particular instance. All that is on her mind is that she needs to preserve that life as if it were her own.
This role of mothers as protectors of life is so important that even in the days of wild justice, women who revenged by taking a life were frowned upon. In the Ancient Greek comunity for instance, avenging was allowed but only for men. Women who revenged by causing death were stripped off their femininity and excommunicated from the community.
Turning back to the Westgate terrorist attack, any mother who followed it on television will tell you how devastating it was to see those little children running for their dear lives in the hands of the attackers. The sound of the machine guns from the background scaring them out of their wits and the sight of their shot parents sprawling on the ground fighting for their dear lives helpless. These are children who were enjoying their weekend break from school and had probably gone out for icecream with their parents after a long week of being away from home before they coul resume school the following week. Others were having fun at a cooking competition organized by a local radio station. Within minutes, some of them were no more while others were nursing serious gunshot wounds. Bear in mind, these are children whom we brought into this world with love only to end their lives so brutally.
Now coming to the most painful part of the story, rumours started flying around that intelligence points the mastermind of the attack as one woman commonly known as the White Widow. She is also sought after in connection with another previous terrorism attack. The main issue here is that this is a woman who was leading the attack. It is actually a mother who was directing and ordering the merciless killing of innocent children.Don't get me wrong, if it was a man directing the killing, it would have still been wrong, but a mother being the lead makes it different. A giver of life turns to be a ruthless taker of life.
Think of it this way, today as we go to bed, the terrorists' children will be safely locked up and tacked in bed after a warm dinner. But somewhere in Westgate, a child will be burried. Somewhere in Westgate, a child will go home to lay her mother or father to rest and live with the void for the rest of their life. Smewhere in Westgate, a child will never get over the trauma of the dead bodies that lay all around them.
This is a wake up call for all mothers to re-think our role as protectors of life seriously.