by Imran H. Khan

After the shock and awe of beginnings of war is over and the dust from the towers has settled, comes the real face of war. How survivors face that face is the story of the mothers and wives who are left behind to cope with the decisions of the leaders who chose to wage them. Two American wives of the victims of 9/11 attack ,  Patricia Quigley and Susan Retik,  decided to turn their tragedy into hope for widows in Afghanistan.

I had the opportunity to meet and see Susan Retik’s presentation of the video “Beyond Belief” in a sold out hall at Islamic Center of Wayland on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 attack.  The work of these two ladies is a source of inspiration to all who face adversity. They took the hand that had been dealt to them and turned it into something worthy for all of us to emulate. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the sudden loss and the prospects of raising young children alone, they found strength in empathizing with the widows in Afghanistan; who had not only lost their husbands but were facing numerous other hardships.  The thing that struck me was the similarity of experience of mothers no matter where they come from. There is a particularly poignant scene in the video where Susan is meeting the widows that her organization “Beyond the 11th” supports, and an elderly lady is helped into the room. She had lost seven boys to the wars that have ravaged Afghanistan. You will need to watch and experience the emotions on her face in the video below.

Susan originally wanted to help only one widow. But as she realized that the cost of living in Afghanistan is so amazingly low when compared to that in US, she decided to actually support 400 of them. Through her fund raising efforts, that started with bicycling from Ground Zero to Boston, she was able to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars that she funneled to different women empowering projects through CARE.

Patricia and Susan are the face of America that gives rise to hope that Americans will eventually overcome their fears and assist those regions of the world that we have forgotten, rather than bombard them through drone attacks. Similar inspirational efforts have been effectively undertaken by Greg Mortenson through the creation of schools for girls.

I would urge you all to join and contribute to the efforts of those Americans who will win for us the hearts and minds of those that so desperately need our attention. On Planet Earth there are no borders, we are all connected.

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One Response to “Mothers of Wars”

  1. izaz haque on September 14th, 2010 6:47 pm

    very nicely written, imran.