Mothers’ Stories

Short Story: Two Lines in Diaspora

Short Story: Two Lines in Diaspora
Published : November 14 , 2023
Latest Update : January 30 , 2024
Manar Daghlas is a mother of one baby girl. She has been a full time English teacher since she graduated from The University... more

She held her breath and set her timer; counted down from 5 minutes to 4,3,2,1. She opened her eyes and looked at the pink embellished stick and counted the lines. “Two” she thought, as she blinked several times in disbelief. They were two clear lines. Two to confirm that what she had dreamed of for many years is now within her reach. Before she could call Ahmed, Aisha squeezed her eyes shut then looked at the test again. Two astonishing lines stared back at her.

During her first round of IVF, Aisha had little to no hope. She and Ahmed went to Sydney's best doctors. They all said that it is very unlikely that they will conceive. They have both accepted their fate and lived a fulfilling life until one day, Aisha looked at her belly and said, "What do we have to lose if we tried?". One Doctor's visit led to another and before they knew it, she was asked to stay in bed, rest and prepare to have her first baby.

360Moms - khaled illustration gaza child

Days have passed with Aisha thinking tumultuously about baby names, the nursery, bottles, pacifiers, swaddles, strollers and furniture. She loved standing by the mirror and caressing her baby bump, as do all expecting moms do. She was really looking forward to reaching the "Phoebe" pregnant phase of her journey so she can place her snack plates on her belly because who needs a table anyway? She felt the life inside of her grow every day and with every kick, Aisha’s hopes and dreams for the future became sweeter and sweeter.

October 7th 2023

She didn't know what she would be waking up to. The time difference between Aisha in Australia and her family in Gaza meant that she always woke up to messages from her mom and uncle checking in on her. That morning, she woke up to 75 messages on all platforms:



"I Cannot believe I lived to see this day"

"They finally spoke up! They finally punched back! We finally said enough is enough!"


Everyone was posting, calling, texting. In a blink of an eye and just like that, the will of an entire nation was restored to its former glory. Aisha and Ahmed's spirits were uplifted beyond measure. They prayed and prayed and prayed. They asked God to protect those who are always in danger no matter what they do, or don’t do. For the first time ever, they could see the dream materialize in front of them and for every Palestinian in diaspora, the thirst and yearning for Palestine never leaves.


October 9th, 2023


Days have passed and Aisha’s heart was tied back home 24 hours a day. She did not sleep. She did not eat unless Ahmed forced her to. She was worried sick, watching the news; what she could see anyway. All channels were showing footage of her hometown Gaza being bombed; people being targeted and murdered with headlines like “War on Terror”. She never relied on news channels and platforms around her anyway and always got her news from the most valid and legitimate source of information to her. Her family in Gaza.

360moms - Khaled Sadeden gaza child above ruins

Every day, more and more of Aisha’s friends were being shadow banned on every platform. Whoever spoke about Gaza and the massacres in Gaza was immediately silenced in every shape and form. Protests and rallies supporting Palestine were banned. For the first time in the “civilized democratic West”, you were not even allowed to carry the Palestinian flag. Celebrities, journalists, students, businessmen and politicians were being silenced, as if this horrid world was approving of the bleeding of Gaza. Aisha screamed in pain every day; but she knew, this was not about her and her pain. For in diaspora, you have two hearts, one that beats to let you live and another, spellbound by your homeland.


Throughout her life, no matter how many Palestinian songs Aisha learned and enjoyed, how many Palestinian folkloric tales she knew, how many Palestinian dishes she cooked, she knew that her love for her country would never be complete without her return to her ancestor’s land, and the land of the ancestors before her ancestors.


Aisha could feel her baby kick inside of her. As if her baby was violently objecting; silently screaming for the world to be better by the time he arrives. She knew she was having a boy. She and Ahmed often spoke to him and comforted him by telling him that things will get better because there is always a dim ray of sunlight, masked by the cold dark clouds.



October 12th, 2023


Aisha woke up this day with a sharp pain in her stomach. She called for Ahmed, and she screamed in pain as it intensified. Ahmed rushed her to the hospital and before she arrived, she knew; her baby’s heart no longer beat. The Doctors could not do anything except inform her of what she had already known. Her dream has died.


Aisha could not tell her family back home for they are now suffering beyond any human measure. They have no electricity, water or food and Aisha is unable to contact them more than once a day. By now, they had relocated 4 times to evade the bombing, each time moving from one destiny to another. All of which were identical for they had no other choice. More and more bloodshed, 300, 400, 500, 700, 800, 1000 and counting children souls lost; many men and women, scattered around Gaza; many of whom Aisha’s family knew very well and all she could wonder was, is my family next?


She put her head on her pillow that night and cried. She cried for Gaza, she cried for her baby, she cried for all the children who had their childhood brutally robbed from them and she slept. Hoping to escape the harsh reality of the world. Hoping to wake up to a miraculous awakening of humanity.




January 2nd, 2024


After Aisha and Ahmed moved to their new home, they tried to keep busy and cope with their grief in any way possible. She planted flowers in their garden, and he watered them. As the sun set that day, Aisha remembered the Doctors saying it is

was almost impossible. Yet, she and Ahmed always believed otherwise. Aisha bought 3 different pregnancy test kits and all 3 said it was true. Two vivid lines. Two powerful, resilient, and heroic lines. Two lines so bold, so defined, so beautiful and so mighty.


8 months later, Aisha and Ahmed walked out of the hospital with their triplets, Majd Malaak and Basel. They wanted to name them after the people of Gaza. Majd was our victory, the victory of our people, the victory of Aisha and Ahmed and the victory of those the world has lost in Palestine. Malaak was their angel, after all the angels who fell in their sleep in Gaza. And Basel was named after every valiant human being, who fought for his land and his people till the last breath.


This is what we are and that is how we survive. This is how we survived the last 75 years and will continue to survive no matter what you do. If you cut down a tree that is thousands of years old, it will grow back stronger. If you try to burn its branches, it will eat you with its flames and no matter what you do, our trees grow back while yours wilt and wither away in the wind.


360Moms - Khaled Sadeden child gaza ballons illustrations


"I wish children didn't die. I wish they would be temporarily elevated to the skies until the war ends. Then they would return home safe, and when their parents would ask them: "where were you?", they would say: "we were playing in the clouds".

Ghassan Kanafani


*Illustrations by Khaled Sadeden


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