Political and Local Affair Articles published in English in English newspapers, mostly in Arabnews Daily and Saudi Gazett.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
A cry from a South African mother: Help my Saudi daughter!
I have written five articles about tragic love and marriage stories that have left Saudi and Qatari children stranded with their foreign mothers. The fathers are mostly Gulf students who married or had love relations with American women. They promised these women a lifetime journey or agreed on a temporary relationship that should not involve children and should end on graduation day.
However, reality kicks in and children arrive at inconvenient times. The doomsday comes when the young man has to return home to a family that does not welcome foreign wives. In many cases, his mother has already chosen a relative, a neighbor or a friend’s daughter for him.
As time and distance intervene, love wanes, and so does his commitment. The poor deserted foreign mother is left caring for the young children with no help or even acknowledgement from their father. She calls him, his family and friends, the Saudi embassy and concerned organizations like Awasser, but to no avail. The young man gets married, has children, and goes on with a life that has no room for his “other” family which lives so far away. He abandons his responsibilities to his own children, in some cases not even acknowledging their existence. What a shame!
This time the cry for help comes all the way from South Africa. The husband who abandoned his wife and children is not a young student, but a Saudi traveler who decided to keep a warm home abroad for occasional visits, without taking any responsibility for its cost, or so claims his wife.
Here is a summary of her story. She says: “I am a South African Muslim woman of a Turkish-Middle Eastern background, who has been married to a Saudi citizen for nearly seven years. Before our marriage, he assured my family that he was applying for permission from the Saudi government to marry me. Yet, soon after we were married, he claimed that he had applied many times but was not granted permission. I find that difficult to believe! Anyway, in all those seven years he insisted that he was unable to take my daughter and me to live with him in Saudi Arabia as our marriage was not recognized. Therefore, he would travel back to the Kingdom for long periods of time. This time he has been away for eight months, leaving us with no money, and not even calling to enquire about our well-being.
“I have contacted my husband’s family concerning this issue many times, as well as the Saudi embassy here, but to no avail. I’ve also contacted the Awasser organization on numerous occasions. After many years and hundreds of emails, they finally answered.
“They said that in order to apply for help, I needed to apply through the embassy. I tried there but they said I needed official documents from my husband. Upon calling him in Saudi Arabia, he refused. The embassy contacted him and assured me that he would return in a couple of weeks. Many more weeks have passed by and I am still waiting.
“A few months ago, I requested my husband to please sign a document that the South African Ministry of Interior emailed him in order to issue a new passport for my daughter. I have been saving up for many years now to take her for Umrah in Makkah and to visit her Saudi family. He bluntly refused to sign the document.
“I can say with all pride that I am an honorable Muslim lady desperately fighting for my dear, dear child! I have done all that I am capable of doing and have given her a good Islamic upbringing. My daughter is only five, but loves her prayers dearly and has begun memorizing the Holy Qur’an. Still I cannot deny that she needs the presence of a proper father in her life! I have taught her to sit down every morning and evening and cry to Allah for help.
“My unanswered questions are: Why is it so difficult to resolve these issues in Saudi Arabia and why are we treated like beggars and sent from pillar to post by every group and organization every time we try to get their help? Why hasn’t the Saudi government come forward to address these important issues and make these children feel part of their own country – Saudi Arabia?
“My daughter clearly is suffering from a complex, as she does not know where she belongs. It is my Islamic duty to give my child her father’s name and tell her that she belongs to the Holy Land.”
That is one more tragic story. The mother of another abandoned Saudi child is asking the same question I have been asking in every article I have written about the issue with no answer at all from those it may concern. It makes me wonder: Is anyone listening?