In Palestine it is not unordinary to take care of a stranger’s child on a taxi ride. A smile, a gesture, and this delicate creature is handed over by the mother with arms full.
Today it was a mother busy with her newborn. Her toddler daughter sat smiling, radiant, next to her. But at the first of many bumps while the taxi braked for a pothole in the road, she tumbled forward.
Without need to even consider the mother’s reaction, I picked her up and sat her next to me, arm around her.
And as expected, her mother sent a grateful, friendly smile, and turned back to caring for the infant.
Mothers,women in general, are strong in Palestine, and this young mother was by no means incapable of caring for the two. But a little child cuddle is always nice, and I relish the trust that is granted with respect to children. Children are sacred; everyone will do anything for children, to care for them and to keep them happy. People in Palestine have no need to fear, as we do outside, that someone will harm their child –except the obvious: Israeli soldiers and attacks.
Palestinian children are not spoiled, they grow up too early and know far too much about the adult world from their continual exposure to the violence of the Israeli occupation and attacks. But their laughter and beauty defy their surroundings and daily existence.