One mother’s plea to the Prince (Letter)
In the past couple of months, mothers of detained prisoners have been protesting in front of several state buildings to demand release of their sons held without charges/false charges and calling for a fair trial. Some 15 women and 5 children were detained earlier in July and later released.
Here’s a translated version of a prisoner (Fahd Al-Saeed) mother’s powerful letter to the Prince calling for her son's release.
Once I wondered about the meaning of ‘homeland’, about its mercy, compassion for its children, could a nation torture its own citizens, to crush them, to steal the flower of their youth? Can a real country throw its children in prison with indifference?
After arrest of Fahd, many things changed in me, they told me so, my voice became sad and harsh, my eyes are crying in continuous silence, my face….deep are it’s wounds, so deep they can’t be reached by helping hands! But I asked you by God, and my motherhood, if you ever live between your thrones, between your family, your loved ones, I ask you by God, if you ever put ‘Kohl’ (symbolizing festivity) please, please…remember us!
My son, Fahd – your Highness Prince – I suppose you do not know, probably nobody does, no one cares, even if he dies in one of the deserted alley, if he dies in your prison cell, no one will sympathise with him or hear his tale!
They arrested him Oh prince ages ago, maybe seven, eight or nine years ago, I can’t recall the most powerful memories anymore, the years of deprivation and frustration… in my both eyes are all the same. They broke into our home by force, they terrified my daughters, they scared me, the details are still engraved in our hearts.
After all these years, Is he a lost case my Prince? Have you forgotten him? Have you sentenced him for an infinite death?
You did not try him, you did not find him guilty, you did not even set him free, how long will this going to last? Until he ages in your cell and die?
His name is Fahad, the only son I have in this world, I cannot see anyone but him, I did not have any ambitions, and aspirations, not wishful thinking, my only wish was…to celebrate his wedding one day, to see my grandchildren jumping around me, just weeks before his arrest…we were preparing for his engagement, his fiancé - your highness- is still fasting and is in denial, you know she is still waiting for him and he for her? She visited him once in prision, they humiliated her, and degraded her until she earned few minutes with him.
Do you know me your highness prince?
I am his mother, his heaven and paradise; Did you have a mother your highness prince? Do you know the meaning of motherhood? Do you know the meaning of oppression and deprivation?
How will I explain you the meanings? You have never been subjected to injustice in your life, you never tasted it’s bitterness, you have never been consumed by it’s fire….I know my speech exudes passion, maybe you do not recognize emotions in your world, the world of strict and lethal rigor, but my heart though is still a heart of a mother, it’s bustling with passion!
Passion, do you know its true meaning your highness Prince?
I will try to explain to you the “emotions of deprivation”, your highness Prince…It’s a burning heart, it’s a tear that tarnish hands, like eyes averting from everything, it’s Crying, and crying, and more crying…
Do you want me to be honest with you, your highness? Your door-as you claim- is open after all?
I-by God- do not like you and I do not imagine that I would like you one day, I will not be a hypocrite, I will not lie to you, and I will not say anything but this, I know, your highness, that you do not care less for the affection of a sixty something women like me, her soul is on the brink of the grave, no one cares about my emotions, I know that, but perhaps you will care to know about what I am going to say…my children, no…not just my children but all my kin, all of them without exception, they are sympathetic with us,all of them…They hate your security apparatus, they hate the same security system that is aimed to protect their homeland, they particularly hate certain names, they loath them and wish for it’s demise with their heart
I know that is an illegal request, but I vowed for honesty, before that…we really used to like you, we never let anyone come your way, we had an innate sense of loyalty, a naïve feeling coming from the heart…And now…I’m starting to tend towards all those secretly whispered against you, I tend to believe it, embrace it and spreading it!
You’re Highness; please show me your hand!
They say it’s lush, soft and feels like silk texture, those who shook hands with you told me, I am not envying you, I do not wish that you have a change of fate, but I want to tell you about my own fate , my own hands!
My hand-your highness- is complicated, I swear it’s dead; It has lost it’s vitality along the days, I go to my son Fahd’s room, my baby Fahd, I feel his bed, his footsteps, his shadow, his smell, maybe he is back, every night I promise myself his return, I watch for his shade, my hands are worn and blackened from anguish!
I do not cry alone, your highness, every night..my prayer rug and my black cloak are crying along, they call on with me to lord for justice from those who have wronged us
My eyes your highness, they are beginning to feel they are fading and dimming too, would I become blind? Cannot see anything but darkness, Oh God.. I pray to you to let me see Fahd before my eyes go to sleep….
No..I will not exaggerate and say that my son Fahd’s memory is with me every minute,every second, No…I may at times forget him or force myself to forget, and perhaps have moments where I actually smile, or laugh, but I swear your highness, every time I laugh I feel a lump in my throat, a deep pain, a clatter and then what ?
The laugh dies on my lips and I see beloved Fahad’s face….
What your highness..?
Are we going to forgive you if you release him?
I will, I am an old woman in my sixties, I am aged now and tomorrow I will leave. I have lived enough and I do not fantasy more living, maybe we will forgive our humiliation, the terrorizing of my daughters, for all the moments of bitter sorrow, But..! O Prince…Do you think that Fahad’s heart will forgive you ? the flower of his youth? His twenties? The most beautiful years of his life, his future…you squashed them, would he forgive you?
Can you bring back the flower of his youth which withered behind the bars of oppression, oppression of men!
Can be received by the "flower of his youth", which withered behind the bars of oppression, Men’s oppression?
Once I wondered about the meaning of ‘homeland’, about its mercy, compassion for its children, could a nation torture its own citizens, to crush them, to steal the flower of their youth? Can a true country throw its children in prison with indifference? Do you ask me about joy?
After arrest of Fahd, many things changed in me, they told me so, my voice became sad and harsh, my eyes are crying in continuous silence, my face….deep are it’s scars, so deep they can’t be reached by helping hands!
Fahad, my beloved, you know how weak I am, you know for sure how insignificant I am, I can do nothing to help you, I am a lonely women, I cannot claim your rights , I cannot support you, or take your revenge, but I will do what I can do for you…I will cry for you!
My beloved, I know, the tears do not serve you any good, but I will cry for you, that’s in my capacity, that what I can, I will write about you, I will plant your story everywhere, I will strive so people can hear my voice!
But…I will continue to cry for you
I will not hold it from you my darling –I used to carry a white and bright rose in my hand, it represents hope, optimism and good omen but…I no longer hold it, it fell from my hand, no Fahad, my heart did not give up from God’s mercy, but..My hand is getting weaker, It is trembling, overwhelmed by tiresome, I have carried that rose for long…so long
Do you know the ultimate hope for me your highness?
No…it’s not the release of Fahd and men like him, No your highness, my ultimate hope is to avenge those who treated me with injustice, to reclaim rights, not here, nothing will heal me except standing you and me and all who treated me with injustice together before God, to find refuge in his presence, to shout out loud, to pray, to cry, to say….God they burnt my heart, my blood, they burnt my beloved Fahad’s heart, serve us with justice, heal my heart, God, the just among all just…my God…
I am tired of complaining O’ your highness!
I only complain to God alone…
But I appeal to you by God and my motherhood, if you ever dwell between your throne, between family, between loved ones, I ask you by God…if you ever put the ‘Kohl’ on please, please…remember us!
A letter from Umm-Fahad ( mother of Fahd) originally published in an Arabic daily.