Monday, March 29, 2010

Rendezvous With Dr. Afia's Mother

I feel very scared when I write this down. There is a whole war going on as I struggle to decide what I should do and what I should not. I feel so sleepy yet I can’t sleep. All this conflict is just killing me so better out than in.

Well, today I got to meet probably the bravest mother in the world; Dr. Afia Siddiqui’s mother.

The meeting stirred so many emotions in me sympathy, shock, utmost sadness, helplessness yet hope, optimism and faith intermingled with fear, hesitance and scepticism that it has caused this unrest in me that isn’t letting me sleep so I think it’s the best time to put this into black and white. And now that it is all fresh, it will be my most honest version of the thoughts that got triggered after my meeting with this brave woman.

Firstly and most importantly, Mrs. Siddiqui, Dr. Afia’s mother is the most optimistic person I have ever seen in my life. She is the mother of a woman who lives in the most inhumane circumstances unimaginable to a common man.

Her mother tells us that Dr. Afia is currently kept in a 6 foot by 6 foot ‘cage’ which contains her lavatory as well and is watched by a ‘soldier’ 24/7. Her teeth are broken by now by the beatings she gets by the ‘butts’ of guns regularly and that all her skin is covered in pus-and-blood-leaking wounds. Her brother upon visiting her once and seeing her suffering condition got a heart attack and recovered from the shock after three months. Yet, this brave mother passionately and inspiringly speaks of hope, of a day when her daughter will come back to her house and knock at the gate. She says this with her head held high. We are awed at her optimism, her strong-heartedness and her determination.

Then we see the other side as well. We hear a mother talking about her youngest child Afia who was the dearest and most pampered among all her siblings ; a girl whose wealthy father got dressing material especially from Egypt that wouldn’t feel prickly on her tender skin ; a girl who grew into a academically genius student as well as a religious person who could promptly quote from the Quran and Ahadees. We hear her talk about a young Afia who did humanitarian work even in the US. And as she recalls the younger Afia this mother’s heart breaks and tears leak in front of the audience she talks to. She says that she indeed believes that her dear Afia will come back home to her but the thought of what horrible things are being done to her daughter right now … I just can’t put into words, sorry.

Putting this down here, feels horribly terrible to say the least. It makes me relive what Mrs. Siddiqi talked about. My heart bleeds right now as I uncontrollably weep imagining a woman being savagely tortured almost to death in a far off country away from her family in a cold cell.

Then perhaps the strongest thing after faith in Allah, that induces hope in me are the words of Dr. Afia’s mother.

‘Dekh layna jab woh ayaygi...’

(You will see, when she will come…)

I had written this the very night I came back from Dr. Afia’s mother’s residence on March 25, 2010. For those who don’t know, the Iqra Society at IBA had conducted a Guest Speaker Session with Miss Mariam Ridley who raised her voice about Dr. Afia. The session was attended by over 200 people at an announcement just a few hours prior to the event. Dr. Afia’s sister, Dr. Fauzia, kind as she is, invited the organizers of the event at dinner at her and her mother’s place as a token of appreciation for whatever little bit we contributed to the cause.


  1. thanks for the comment, Saad!

  2. MISBAH KHALIL KHANMarch 30, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    it just summed up what we truly experienced in our visit!

  3. This little piece brought tears. I cannot imagine how you stood watching Mrs. Siddiqui.

  4. tehmina, not only me but all the eight of us who went to her were in tears :(

    all of it was extremely painful :l

  5. i see you tagged and then untagged me maryam...any answers to the questions that so many have asked? any explanations as to how and why this is happening?

  6. nabeel, i tagged and untagged you so that i could tag more people and then untag them too to tag more because i felt like tagging everyone and the notes app. had a limit.

    well, the whole aim of our observance of Black Day today, march 30 that is, is to mark seven years of inhumane torture, rape and rendition.

    i do not attempt to explain why it happened. Rather, i wish to condemn whatever is happening as a complete violation of Human Rights and say that it can not be justified by any means.

  7. I went through a similar state after meeting the brave mother who despite such a tribulation stands firm.

    I have also shared my experience here:

    It is about time we account these criminals: the so-called super power thinking it can trample all rules but let it not forget Allah has His own way of punishing these people.

    May the mother meet her beloved daughter soon and may we be able to play our role other wise I fear we might have to pay a heavy price.

  8. i think u can write more to it now, this is more of a reporting style thing u've written... write like u usually do maryam!

  9. @ arjumand

    it feels comforting to know that there are others too who care about the injustice being done to our brothers and sisters in Islam and humanity.

    I read your article, too. It just pains me to read the same experience I went through.

    @Amna, this article was put in black and white when i couldn't even think coherently, let alone write.. but still i had thought that putting it on paper then and there would lead a much more emotionally and factually honest piece.