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French Version

What do Lebanese moms want for Mother's Day?

Women say they hope their children can live in peace and stability in their homeland

With Mother's Day being celebrated on March 21, The Daily Star hit the streets of Achrafieh and Hamra on Wednesday to ask mothers what they hope for their children amid the ongoing political standoff in Lebanon.

While the mothers' statements ranged between hope and skepticism concerning the country's future, they all expressed their wish for their children to enjoy peace and stability and emphasized their strong sense of attachment to Lebanon.

"I wish for my children to live in a secure country," said 36-year-old Lina, who has three children between the ages of 8 and 16. "We want and need hope for our kids."

Lebanon has suffered a presidential vacuum since Emile Lahoud's term ended at midnight November 23, 2006. After much debate, the Western-backed governing coalition and the Hizbullah-led opposition have reached an agreement to elect the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Michel Suleiman, as the new head of state, but the feuding groups remain at odds over the shape of the next Cabinet and the new electoral law.

Yet despite the ongoing political crisis, most Lebanese mothers who were interviewed said they were not willing to give up their optimism.

"Of course we're always worried. It's not easy to plan things ahead because you never know what will happen," said Samar Sabbagh, a mother and grandmother in her 40s. "Things are difficult but we won't give up hope. We still believe in Lebanon."

Samar's daughter, Mayssa, 23, who is herself a mother of an 18-month-old girl, added: "I'm very optimistic about my daughter's future. Yes, it's not easy but we're so attached to this country and we want to live here. It's up to her to change things. Our children are our future." With many Lebanese living and working abroad, many mothers said they wished their children could return to a stable and secure Lebanon.

"One of my kids lives in London, one in Qatar, only one is still here in Lebanon. I hope that they can return to Lebanon. I believe in our country," said Leila Trabolusy, 55, who has three children.

Even those mothers whose children are still too young to go to school expressed worries about their kids' future.

"For my son's future, I wish for peace to prevail in Lebanon," said Florence Habib, 27, mother of one-month-old Giorgio. "I want him to stay with me and I hope he will have a good job and a good career here. I don't think that is possible now but God willing everything will go back to normal."

Many mothers expressed hope that their children will be able to stay in Lebanon, rather than emigrating like the thousands of Lebanese who leave their homeland each year in search of better opportunities.

Rima Wazir, a 42-year-old mother of five children, said: "If the situation calms down in Lebanon and my children can live in peace, I want them to stay here."

Fifi, 45, who has a teenage daughter, expressed a similar wish. "I'd like my daughter to stay here but I don't know if that's possible," she said.

"I don't want her to live what we lived and go through the same difficulties," she added, alluding to the experience of the 1975- 1990 Civil War.

This was a commonly shared view. "I wish for peace in Lebanon. My children should have a better life than me," said Lores, a 53-year-old mother of six children between the ages of 24 and 37. "They should live in days of stability and security because I want my children to stay in Lebanon."

All mothers interviewed said they were very concerned about the political situation and some voiced fears of potential conflict.

"I want my daughter to live here in Lebanon if there is no war," said Rabia, 35, mother of a five-year-old girl. "But honestly, I'm not sure if that is possible. But I hope so because all mothers should live in peace and continue their life together with their children."

The general wish of the Lebanese mothers on Mother's Day was perhaps best expressed in a straightforward statement by Arola, 35, mother of two, a four-year-old and a baby of five months: "All I want and wish for my children is peace and stability in this country so they could lead a normal childhood."

Beirut 20-03-2008
The Daily Star

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