Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs

Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs

World War I and the Politics of Grief

Book - 2007
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Maternal love is considered the most unconditional form of love, yet mothers have been prepared to sacrifice their children, or to see them sacrificed, for a "noble" cause. Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs shows that, across cultures and historical eras, in times of great stress societies will channel all their resources, even maternal love and grief, toward a common cause. Suzanne Evans finds commonalities between the many images of war mothers - the Canadian Silver Cross mother, the ancient Jewish Maccabean mother of seven martyred sons, the mother of a Palestinian suicide bomber. She compares the lore about mothers of martyrs in the Judeo-Christian, Muslim, and Sikh traditions with stories of World War I Canadian mothers who were depicted in the media as having sacrificed their sons for the sake of civilization, justice, freedom, and God. After the war these mothers were honoured with the Silver Cross medal. Evans argues that, like the mothers of past martyrs, the image of the war-supportive mother in Canada had a powerful influence over public opinion and drew supporters to the cause."I remember as a young mother looking at a picture of a Palestinian woman who had just lost her child to martyrdom but was smiling with a serene pride. This was the first time I had come across the phrases "mother of martyr" or "Intifada smile."How could a woman show joy over the death of her child?I could not get the question out of my mind. I later discovered that stories of women who publicly rejoice on the death of a child in support of their community have been told for centuries in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Sikh traditions. There was a depth and complexity to the image of a mother of a martyr that required much more than a passing glance to be understood." From Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs
Publisher: Montreal, Quebec : McGill-Queen's University Press, c2007.
ISBN: 9780773531888
Characteristics: xii, 211 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm.

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