Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our abandoned children: Mother of Sami

TWO letters from abandoned foreign mothers with Saudi children, broke my heart this week. One mother is stuck with her son between her home country in South America and his birthplace in the United States, and the other is a divorcee, living with her autistic children here, among us. All they ask for is basic support for their children. I haven’t heard from their exes and the agencies they called on for justice, and I hope to hear soon. In the meantime, the least we can do is investigate their claims.

Here is a summary of their letters, starting with the one from Riyadh:

“I have been doing some thinking regarding Faisal who was the only person who responded to your articles with an offer to help, but not to me! Could it be that he is not a genuine person? This might sound like I am paranoid, but I can assure you that much stranger things have happened to us over the years in our quest for support.

“One example, when my children were younger (they are now teenagers), I requested a meeting with Dr. Ali Al-Namlah, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs at the time. DURING THE MEETING HE DID SAY THAT HE WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT MY EX-HUSBAND WAS CLAIMING MONEY FOR THE CHILDREN. Excuse the capital letters!

“As soon as I returned home I received a telephone call from his secretary, who I had seen at the meeting. In a nice way, he explained that he was a friend of my ex-husband, and then he asked me to translate some English idioms for him. There were about eight idioms, and every single idiom held a veiled threat to me. The other stuff that I could reveal about what has happened to us is horrible!

“Strange that an innocent woman alone with two children could be treated in such a way, when I am really a very respectable woman and a devoted mother who has no life of my own and has done nothing except demand a divorce from a Saudi and remain in the Kingdom because that is where my two autistic children were desperate to remain.”

The second email came from Central America: “My name is Maria, a Guatemalan student in the US, and the mother of Sami, the son of a Saudi student, from a prominent family. I met Suleiman in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the University of Minnesota. The relationship was great until I got pregnant in 2011. At the beginning, he asked me to have an abortion but I refused and left home. We are Muslims and this is prohibited in Islam. Besides, I do want my baby.

“A week later he asked me back, because he couldn’t live without me. Four months later he returned to Saudi Arabia, for Eid, but never returned home, except in December 2011, while I was in Texas with my aunt trying to survive. While he was studying at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, he kept contacting me, especially when the Saudi Cultural Mission called him regarding the issue of his son. When he denied that the child was his son, they just took his side.

“Suddenly, he decided to register Sami under his name and signed the acknowledgement of Paternity by the Attorney General of Texas. But in June 2012 he left for Saudi Arabia and decided to cut me off. I contacted his father through the Jordanian imam of our mosque. He showed sympathy but later told me the case was taken up by a lawyer in the Saudi Embassy because his son assured him that I am a blackmailer.

“Sure enough, I have been mailing the family, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over a year to get financial help for their son but they have just ignored me. Is that blackmailing in your culture? Right now I am stuck with my son in my home country, Guatemala, because Suleiman does not want to sign a travel permission for Sami. When I asked why, he rudely replied ‘You lost your freedom when you allowed me to sign Sami’s papers, and I will never do anything to please you!’ He probably thought that I am less trouble away from the States.

“I reported all that to his father, and that I am willing to undergo a DNA test to prove he is Sami’s biological father, but his dad refused to even listen. I don’t believe Suleiman or his family have the right to treat us like beggars and make my son’s life a mess just because Suleiman doesn’t want to take responsibility. I strongly believe that they cannot hide and deny Sami forever, and even if they do so, they will have to give an account to Allah on the Day of Judgment. So if someone is willing to help with my case I would appreciate it. All I want now is my son’s custody, not financial support.”

1 comment:

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