"For all her accomplishments, when asked what she was proudest of, she would say unhesitatingly her role as a mother," the journalist said

By Dory Jackson
April 12, 2021 12:05 PM
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Fareed Zakaria
Credit: Fareed Zakaria/ instagram

Journalist Fareed Zakaria said goodbye to his mother, Fatma Zakaria, on-air Sunday after she died following a battle with COVID-19 earlier this month. She was 85.

During the final moments of his CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria took a moment to open up about something "very personal."

"We are approaching three million COVID deaths worldwide, and people have often pointed out that behind these statistics are individual human beings. This week, my mother, Fatma Zakaria, became one of those statistics," said Zakaria, 57. "She died of complications related to COVID."

"If there's a single person most responsible for who I am today and the things I achieved in the world — large or small — it's my mother," he continued. "So I thought I would tell you a little bit about her."

Zakaria proceeded to share details about his mother's upbringing, including that she was born in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) in 1936 to a large family. Fatma attended Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow, India, and later worked to educate underprivileged children during her time as a social worker. Shortly after marrying Zakaria's father, she found success after pivoting to a career in journalism.

"For all her accomplishments, when asked what she was proudest of, she would say unhesitatingly her role as a mother. She was utterly devoted to that job," 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."

Fareed Zakaria
Credit: Walter McBride/Getty

In closing his tribute, Zakaria noted that the pandemic prevented him from being able to see his mother in India before her death.

"Thanks to the pandemic, I was not able to see my mother for the last time nor bury her, which is why I thought I might take this opportunity and say goodbye, ma," he said. "I love you."

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Zakaria announced his mother's death April 6 on social media April 6. "My mother, Fatma Zakaria, passed away last night — a heart attack after getting Covid-19," he captioned an Instagram post with photos of his mom.

"She lived a long, rich, eventful life, a pioneer as a woman in journalism, then an educator," he continued. "She adored her children and grandchildren. The first picture is one she loved (on a trip to Egypt in 1975) and the second is with my kids in Goa two years ago. RIP."

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