Culture, Sunday poem

Sunday Poem: ‘Mother Europa’ by Zaifoz

Mother Europa

-May you tell me more about your relationship with your mother?

-I never could call my mother, mother.

My grandmother was my mother, even though I was raised by my mother.

Since I can remember, I did not want to be rejected. I was the best student, the quiet child. I wanted to be close to her.

But… they used to tell me their tales of deception, fear and war. How they had to leave their mother in order to survive. They had to come and accept a harsh life within an unloving father. Who despised and treated them as ‘others’ as soon as they arrived. The metropolis was uncivilised, the greatest of the lies. Yet, they stayed.

I grew up with their “vou levar-te comigo” dreams. Notwithstanding, for me they were just that, just dreams. Before eleven or twelve, I never had consciousness that war and killings on their mother cities were present realities. I knew it, but was not conscious of it.

My mother taught me songs, children’s games, stories which I will never forget. My mother taught me how to dream. And she gave me the best of gifts, how to read. Through reading all world truths are reachable.

Though… They told me my mother was white. They told me my mother was Catholic. Worse, they told me she has only ever been white and Catholic, that she would never love children with other colours.

My grandmother was bleeding because of her. And my brothers were ruining their faiths because of her. They took away our identity and pushed us to hate.

I was afraid, very afraid. How would a small child feel if suddenly life stole both her parents from her? I was alone, I did not know who I was. I wanted to commit an emptiness suicide.

I wanted to be alone… and so I stayed for decades. But my mother was always and patiently there. And she gave me another gift, a box whose eyes could reach all of the universe. I started to understand.

Mother Europa, I am your daughter.

Old Europa, your history did not start today.

Europa, you are white and black and all other colours.

Europa, you are Christian and Muslim and hundreds of other religions.

Mother, your children have betrayed you. Murdered and plundered from millions. Forgotten your many dreams of justice, equality and freedom. Forgotten that all kinds of people and cultures who arrive and stay with you.

Mother, you are many.

My mother is powerful, and she will make her children remember.

Back to your question. My relationship with my mother has communication enough, but still needs a lot of work. And I still see my grandmother as my mother, too.

By Zaifoz

Photograph by Johny Pitts
Photograph by Johny Pitts

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