Welcome to a world we hope will be kind to you. You are a handsome boy and all your family’s friends from all over the world are rejoicing over your birth.
Welcome, Idris. And may your life be beautiful and very long and wise.
For those of you who don’t know, Idris’ father is Suleiman Baraka.
Suleiman is a very good friend of our son. They are like brothers.
Suleiman got his PhD in astrophysics in Paris a couple of years before Swee'Pea. He went back to Gaza to spend a few weeks with his family before flying away to Virginia where he had a postdoc with NASA waiting for him. The family would follow later.
But politics can be cruel. Suleiman could not leave Gaza until much later, very much later. We took him in at his arrival in Paris. He was very tired but very hopeful. Then he left for Virginia Tech. This was in October 2008.
Then tragedy struck. We are still grieving. Let just say that Ibrahim, Suleiman’s second son, was killed by an Israeli missile in January. Actually Ibrahim died in Cairo in Suleiman’s arms but when his body was sent back to the Gaza Strip, Suleiman could not go along with him. Ibrahim was 11 yrs old and a very nice and bright boy, a top student.
We took Suleiman back in for a few days in Paris. He was a very broken man but not hateful, still believing that peace could happen somehow on a long-term basis. Then he went back to the States.
It’s a long story and today is a day of rejoicing. But it is hard not to think about Ibrahim.
People united their wills and efforts. Suleiman’s family was allowed to leave Gaza to go live in the States. Suleiman’s wife, Iman, and the three remaining children (Mohammed, Waad and Dawoud) arrived in Virginia by the end of February.
Then we got great news. Iman was expecting a child. Very quickly we learnt that the baby to come was a boy.
In August though, the family made a decision. They wanted to go back to Gaza in order to be part of a peaceful rebuilding of Gaza.
Suleiman and Iman strongly believe that the peaceful future of their country lies in goodwill and education. They also wanted Idris to be a symbol of this peaceful future. They wanted him to be born in the family hometown.
So they went back to Gaza.
I cried a lot because it was hard to understand such a decision. We were frightened. They were very brave.
Communications can be difficult at times, even tho Suleiman is teaching and creating an Astrophysics Center in Gaza.
But we manage. We communicate. It’s like a big chain... You get news... You spread them!
So welcome, Idris to a better world. We all love you.
This day is truly a day of great rejoicing for your family and all of us, all over the world.
°Idris is the arabic form of Henoch. He’s known in the Quran as being the father of writing and astronomy.
*Good Night, and Good Luck*