Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Mother

"Farook's mother lived with the couple, staying mainly upstairs.  Farook liked to tinker in his garage."

With these words, Los Angeles Times reporters told us as much as they knew about Rafia Farook, beyond the divorce papers filed in 2006 from a violently abusive, often drunk husband.

Presumably investigators know more, having questioned her for seven hours.

The big question: how could this mother not know something was afoot?

There were Christmas lights found in the two-story townhouse, used to rig up detonation for pipe bombs.

Did Rafia see the strings of lights?  Wouldn't she ask why in Allah's name they were in the house?

Did she come downstairs for her meals?  No part of that huge arsenal was in the kitchen or living room, no empty containers in the trash?

When her son and his wife left the baby with her, she didn't notice an odd calmness, a clenched jaw?  She didn't call a family member or the police.

Perhaps Rafia knew that one wrong move on her part, and they would execute her. 

Perhaps she had suspicions but felt helpless to do anything, a hostage in her son's home.

Perhaps she had no job, no way of moving out and supporting herself.

Having already been a battered wife for many years, perhaps she did not have the strength to challenge what she saw or heard.

Perhaps the killers couldn't shoot her or the baby--a noise would alert neighbors and endanger their plans.

Another possibility is that she suspected and protected her son's activity.  She was an "active member" of the Islamic Circle of North America, described as having "ties to a radical Pakistani political group, Jamaat-e-Islami, according to the Daily Caller."

In fact, Anwar al-Alwaki had spoken at an ICNA event in 2002.  The US Army major who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 had exchanged emails with al-Awlaki.

In any case, this mother lost her son and her self-respect on December 2.  Her granddaughter is with Child Protective Services.

Rafia Farook will live with regrets: a failed marriage, a dead son, and failure as a mother, the omnipresent blame all mothers fear if their children fail to thrive.  

This sad mother, my age or a little younger, will live her remaining years in shame.

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