Fareed Zakaria pays tribute to his mother after she died of COVID-19 complications

Fareed Zakaria pays tribute to his mother after she died of COVID-19 complications
© Fareed Zakaria GPS

CNN host Fareed Zakaria paid an emotional tribute to his mother on Sunday after she died of complications from COVID-19. 

“We are approaching 3 million COVID deaths worldwide, and people have often pointed out that behind these statistics are individual human beings. This week, my mother, Fatima Zakaria, became one of those statistics,” he said on Sunday on his show “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

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Fareed Zakaria said his mother, 85, died of complications related to COVID-19 in Aurangabad, India.

“If there’s a single person most responsible for who I am today and the things that I have achieved in the world, large or small, it’s my mother,” the CNN host shared. 

Fatima Zakaria was born in then-Bombay in British India, Fareed Zakaria said. She attended Isabella Thoburn College in India before becoming a social worker and embarking on a longtime career in journalism.

“She moved up fast. By the 1970s, she was one of a handful of women with a senior role in the Indian media. It was a man’s world, and she had to endure all kinds of double standards. She never complained, worked harder and kept moving up,” Fareed Zakaria said, alongside photos and videos of his mother.

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“For all her accomplishments, when asked what she was proudest of, she would say unhesitatingly her role as a mother,” he added.

Fareed Zakaria said the “greatest sign of her love for her children was that she encouraged all of us to go to America for college, even though she knew that it could well mean that we would end up staying here.”

“She wanted the best for us, even at the cost of her own happiness. People talk about the story of immigration as one big happy tale, but in every immigrant’s story, there is sadness as well, the sadness of a country, a culture, a family left behind, a mother who would quietly weep at night, distant from the child she loved,” he added.

“I feel that sorrow of distance this week because, thanks to the pandemic, I was not able to see my mother for the last time nor bury her,” the host said, his voice breaking before adding, “Goodbye, Ma. I love you.” 

India on Monday surpassed Brazil as the country with the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. Data by Johns Hopkins University showed that India now sits at second place in the total number of infections worldwide, behind only the U.S.