Destination Gauntanamo Bay

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Abdullah 3

The day of our departure arrived and Sadia was driving me nuts. She  forced me to check and recheck things like a drill sergeant. We even went back to the house twice, first to make sure everything was switched off and then to make sure we had locked the door . 

if we were late, I knew she would blame and then my mother would take her part and they would call me irresponsible. 

I’ve been feeling a bit jittery for a while but it was probably my nerves because we’ve booked a few days at Disneyland Paris for the kids as a surprise. My mother refused to stay at hotels, according to her they’re a waste of money and she insists that her and the kids stay with family. This means that Sadia and I will have a honeymoon week before we take the kids to Paris. This suited me just fine. I love my kids but I miss having time alone with my wife.  

After we checked in our bags my mother forced us to grab a bite because she finds the plane food disgusting. She also filled as much food as she could into her bag just in case the kids missed ‘home’ food.  I wanted to say that they would be having ‘home’ food daily at her cousin’s house but I knew better than to argue about food with my mother.

Nadia was in a foul mood for some reason and Ahmed was in a nagathon because suddenly he didn’t want to leave home. It was going to be a long painful flight , I could tell already. Nadia would whine about having nothing to watch despite all the kids channels on the plane and Ahmed would moan about the lack of Wi-Fi with without which he couldn’t watch YouTube. My mum would complain to anyone who would listen about how terrible the tea was and how desperately she needed a good cup of boiled tea. Sadia would whinge about the kids being spoilt and rude and blame it on how my mother spoils them and never allows anyone to discipline them. And me, I would inevitably be blames for everything , by everyone.

We boarded the plane and took our seats. I took out my little Quran and began to silently recite the verses that I loved. The man next to me joked that, every husband travelling with kids right now was praying for sanity and we laughed. I looked out of the window and took in the mesmerising scenery as the ground got further and further away until we were surrounded by dark black clouds. I was brought back to reality by the aroma of the samoosa Tupperware and my mother offering them to everyone sitting around us, as if they were her guests.  

Sadia laughed and said this was exactly why we sat apart from her and the kids. Mum was kind and caring an could not sit still for a second , not to mention her OCD.

Sadia held my hand in hers and thanked me for this trip. She rested her head on my shoulders and at that moment the world was perfect. I pray a bit and while Sadia fell asleep, I rested my eyes. A few minutes later Nadia and Ahmed began to fight and I got to them before it escalated to screaming. After hearing both sides of the story I told Nadia to go and sit with her mother and I stayed between my mum who was nodding off and Ahmed who was crying. The man I was chatting with before smiled at me as he moved between two little girls.

When I woke up the flight attendants were bringing us breakfast and soon it would be time to land. My mother brought out came the egg bread and red chutney an moaned about the tea again.  

I looked to see if Sadia was awake but she was still asleep so I ate in silence and watched a movie until we landed. 

The cold hit us as soon as we stepped out of the plane. I zipped the kids into their jackets and Nadia held my hand and thanked me once again. Sadia walked ten steps behind with my mum, so I took the kids and we proceeded to passport control. I was told to move to another line because I had been ‘randomly selected’ for routine questioning. I complied.

Officer: Hello Mr Abdullah, What is the your nature of visit?

Me: My family and I are attending a friend’s wedding. 

Officer: How long will you be staying ?  

Me: One week in London and another in Paris and then returning to London to leave. So two weeks in total.

Officer: Where will you be staying?

Me: My wife and I will be staying at a hotel in Waterloo.

Officer: What about your mother and kids?

Me: They will be staying with my mum’s cousin, here is a letter from him saying that they have been invited to stay at his home.

Officer: Why have you not been invited to stay over?  

Me: We were but I wanted to give my wife some time off.

Officer: Have you been here before ?  

Me: No this my entire family’s  first time.  

He then proceeded to stamp our passports and we went to get our baggage. Those guards make you feel guilty even if you haven’t done anything wrong. I was nervous as hell but thank the almighty that it went fine. We were greeted at arrivals by Rahim and my mother’s family. We said our goodbyes, exchanged numbers so the kids could call us and headed to our hotel. 
—————————————————————-
This is for sister Aafia not forgotten indeed.

Aafia Siddique…Nueroscientist..
Born 2nd March 1972..
Arrested in Afghanistan ..2008..
Spent 18 months in Detention…
Taken away in 2010..

Sentenced to 86 years imprisonment…
Still serving her sentence in
FMC Carswell..Forth Worth
Texas…one of the most notorious prisons in the USA..
Family last spoke to her in 2014..
Today no one knows where she being held of weather she is alive or not. She has been subjected to torture to the worst kind in hope of a confession.
A tragic tale of the US justice system…
She will be 44 years old on the 2nd March …
There no proof ever given of her acts of terrorism. Yet she was charged convicted and taken away.
She has a voice and that voice will continue to remember her by you sharing her story and learning about who she really is.

by mumtaz saley

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