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Two Middle East mothers are sitting in a cafe chatting over a plate of tabouli and a pint of goat's milk.

The older of the two pulls a small folder out of her handbag and starts flipping through photos. They start reminiscing.

''This is my oldest son, Mujibar. He would have been 24 years old now.''

''Yes, I remember him as a baby.'' says the other mother cheerfully.

"He's a martyr now though." the mother confides.

"Oh, so sad dear...'' says the other.

''And this is my second son, Khalid. He would have been 21.''

''Oh, I remember him,'' says the other happily, ''he had such curly hair when he was born.''

''He's a martyr too...'' says the mother quietly.

''Oh, gracious me...'' says the other.

''And this is my third son. My baby. My beautiful Ahmed. He would have been 18'', she whispers.

"Yes," says the friend enthusiastically, ''I remember when he first started school...''

''He's a martyr also,'' says the mother, with tears in her eyes.

After a pause and a deep sigh, the second Muslim mother looks wistfully at the photographs and, searching for the right words, says . . .



"They blow up so fast, don't they?
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