A mother’s dream, an American dream and gold star parents
I am a woman, I am a mother, I am an immigrant, I am a Pakistani-American, I am a Muslim, I live in the swing state of Nevada and I was in the audience this past Saturday when Mr Khizr Khan, the gold-star parent of honourable Captain Humayun Khan, stood at the podium talking to many like me. I was tearing, as was everyone else in the room.
A short video about the Khan family rolled on the large screen in the Monet Room, at the Bellagio, Las Vegas (the venue). It seemed like the story of any hardworking immigrant family, mine and yours, reaching across boundaries of race and religion, and erasing distinction. It focused on that one dream that all come to the US armed with, and the realisation of that dream in reaching prosperity through validation of hard work. The video talked about the three Khan boys, narrowing on Captain Humayun Khan, the middle child, the son who gave his life to the country, willingly embracing death, and asking his parents for the ultimate sacrifice.
My tears fell freely as I watched the gold-star parent, my tears fell freely when I heard one of the hosts explain why Mrs Ghazala Khan could not attend, my tears fell freely when I thought of my eight-year-old son crying the same morning, when I explained to him about the event I was to attend in the evening.
Upon hearing the story of the young Captain Humayun Khan and his untimely passing, my son sat dejected, and when I expanded on the story, and the reaction of Donald Trump to the gold-star family (this past summer) my son started crying, quietly. Tears flowed freely as my little boy asked,
“Mom, why? Why is he such a mean man, and how can all the adults think it’s okay?”
And suddenly it became personal, hence when I heard one of the co-hosts’ for the event say, that only a mothers’ heart could understand the loss of a son, I felt a wave of emotion and deep sadness for Ghazala Khan, and the words of A Mother’s Dream, written by Allama Iqbal echoed on.
A Mother’s Dream
As I slept one night I saw this dream
Which further increased my vexation
I dreamt I was going somewhere on the way
Dark it was and impossible to find the way
Trembling all over with fear I was
Difficult to take even a step with fear was
With some courage as I forward moved
I saw some boys as lined in nice array
Dressed in emerald-like raiment they were
Carrying lighted lamps in their hands they were
They were going quietly behind each other
No one knew where they were to go
Involved in this thought was I
When in this troupe my son saw I
He was walking at the back, and was not walking fast
The lamp he had in his hand was not lighted
Recognising him I said “O My dear!
Where have you come leaving me there?
Restless due to separation I am
Weeping every day forever I am
You did not care even a little for me
What loyalty you showed, you left me”!
As the child saw the distress in me
He replied thus, turning around to me
“The separation from me makes you cry
Not least little good does this to me”
He remained quiet for a while after talking
Showing me the lamp then he started talking
“Do you understand what happened to this?
Your tears have extinguished this”!
I sat there staring at the face of the young Captain as the video rolled, taking heart in the recognition and respect his family was receiving. Jim Murrin, chairman and CEO of the MGM Resorts International, and one of the co-hosts for the event, paid a heartening tribute to the gold-star parent for his ultimate sacrifice, thus reinforcing my belief that graciousness is always a winner.
Khizr Khan walked onto the stage, his humility was undeniable, patriotism palpable, and passion and belief in The Constitution of the United States stood solid. He spoke about his love for the constitution, and his fascination with American values when he was a law student in Pakistan. Khizr Khan’s penchant for the United States Constitution continued when he arrived on US soil as an immigrant, and his law professor at Harvard law school vouches this claim as true.
Hence imagine Khan’s outrage when he sees Donald Trump talk about the unconstitutional every day.
Mr Khan graciously talked about the generosity of the people of his community, his city, his country, reaching out to his family,
“We stopped counting after the 4000th card, we received.”
He said, he is presented with the copies of the Holy Bible, with marked passages guiding him to comfort and strength, and also holy books from the Jewish faith, and is eternally grateful for the outpouring of love and support from all faiths and cultures.
I sat there observing Mr Khizr Khan. He appeared like all the uncles I had grown up with, relatable, real and authentic.
With his picture fresh in my mind, I sat to watch the infamous Sunday night debate between the two candidates. And just like that, in his trumpisque manner, uncouth, undignified, unempathetic and unsympathetic, Donald Trump screeched and implied that Captain Humayun Khan would have been alive, but for the folly of the current administration. I gasped in disbelief, and thought, about the Khan family. What must they be thinking? How must they be feeling? And today I got my answer in the article published in CNN, titled Khizr Khan: Saddened all over again after Trump’s debate comments.
Shame on you Mr Trump, shame on you!
Hopefully come November redemption will save us all and shame the shameless, for better or for worse. So help us God!
All photos: Bisma Tirmizi
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