W

hen our mom was dying, we approached her and asked her what is wrong. She said she is not the one dying, but something in us is dying.

We gathered around our home’s table thinking of the reason of her sickness. She has been dying on her bed for years during which she lost the freshness of her face. Plastic bags blocked her nostrils and her mouth was full of a black execrable liquid. She was in pain and we were watching her melting slowly.

My big brother said with a loud voice: “Since I am the one with the most science, knowledge, culture, money, power, wisdom and capacity, I will tell you what happened to our mom. She is in fact in pain for our sister’s situation who could not succeed for a long time to improve herself. Our sister is in deep poverty, suffering from ignorance, retardation, hunger, diseases and laziness. And despite all my efforts to support her, despite all what I gave her, she is incapable of developing herself.”

What the big brother said is true. In spite of his big fortune and wide knowledge he is still carrying the burden of taking care of our sister who stumbles on every obstacle. Since my brother took everything she has because she does not know how to make use of it, and then poured her with his gifts and aid, she could not succeed in anything. It is true that most of the money is seized by my brother’s messenger, but this does not take away our blame towards our sister. Every day, she tries to pass my brother’s garden to live in his house and to share his bounties even though we warned her that this is not possible; because she has to stay where she is even though her neighbourhood buries its inhabitants every day. My brother even tried to prevent her from this heinous act by building a higher wall, leaving more guards and making harder obstacles. But my sister does not understand.

My sister did not speak that night, like all nights before it. Because I, the story’s narrator and its thinker, transfer only the big brother’s voice. As for my sister, she stays silent in all my stories. In all what I tell and spread to all people, I bless my brother’s white face and glorify his campaigns to develop others and give them more civilization, culture and advancement without discussing things with him or showing his failure in doing so.

But this hasn’t changed anything, because my mom, who I consider to be my whole world, is still dying. And my brother’s projects are only adding sufferance and sickness to her.

When I went to sleep, I dreamt of a new story I will write when I wake up from my lethargy. In that story I saw my sister, the hero, taking the burden of helping my brother to develop his sick self, teaching him humility, equality and peace and shares with him all what he owns. I saw my sister’s black face smiling as she brings my brother back to his humanity and brings life to my mom. I saw my mom’s face, my whole world, changing.

So I also smiled as I thought that the world does not have to change for its story to change and for my mom to live. All what my family needs is a different story that changes the world.

Tomorrow I will write a different story.

*This story was translated from Arabic. It was also translated to German and published by Stuttgart Literaturhaus as part of its CHANGE! Festival in Germany. I read this story during my keynote speech at the ECOSOC in the United Nations Headquarters. See link

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