Saudi American woman pays artful tribute to victims of Boston bombings

Last night I attended the “Muslim Women in the Arts” exhibit at the American Islamic Congress on Newbury Street in Boston. The featured artist was Nada Farhat, a women originally from Saudi Arabia, currently living in Boston. Farhat describes her art as “really a kind of healing soul… My art is who I am… Paint and canvas are what I really need to be free.” Among Farhat’s creations included beautiful works titled “Carpets of Arabia” and “A Quilt of Journeys.”

I was particularly moved by her memorial to those individuals who were directly impacted by the recent Boston bombings. The tribute, titled “Journeys Home,” was located on a wall by the door at the entrance of the American Islamic Congress. At the top of the memorial was a quote which reads: “We press on, never to abandon our home, just as us it never abandons.”

As you see in the picture below, there are four red prayer beads which honor the four individuals who were killed during the bombings and the manhunt which followed. Below the four red prayer beads are 181 additional prayer beads to pay tribute to those individuals who were injured by the bombings.

Farhat also gave us copies of a poem by her husband Rick Zand. It’s a beautiful poem which also pays tribute to the city of Boston and all Bostonians who were impacted by the bombings. I have copied the poem below the pictures.


Journeys Home by Rick Zand

When we endured the din

that ceased the drumbeat of footballs

and suffocated our cheers;

we witnessed the flight of morality,

and along with it our collective spirit.


But didn’t we survive The Boston Massacre,

the Siege of the city,

the Revolutionary War?

We endured the Great Fire that ravaged

our buildings; the catastrophic flood of molasses;

we suffered riots and racism.


Yet we gave birth to a nation;

We were the first state to abolish slavery.

We ushered into life President John Adams, John Quincy Adams,

John F. Kennedy, and George Bush.


We inspired such luminary writers as Holmes, Emerson, Alcott and Longfellow,

to name but a few.


And, on April 19, 1897,

Boston began the world’s oldest annual Marathon.


Many times we have pondered the tenacity

of that which we cannot comprehend.

Still, every morning for over three centuries,

Boston awakens beneath a sky that is sometimes blue-eyed,

other times sea-washed;

but always reassuring.


Now the sounds of Copley resume,

traffic and taxis, the shuffle of pedestrians;

Newbury cafes stir to life in the spring air.

So, we press on, never to abandon our home,

just as it never abandons us.

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