Friday, December 7, 2012

The worst Nightmare of my life: The Night My Sister Was Arrested

After the regime ordered armored vehicles, tanks, and the army to clamp down the pro-democracy movement, the regime began to take revenge from its opponents!!
A list comprising 18 individuals that needed to be executed has been distributed by loyalists. My name was the sixth! I was the only one from the media field. The rest were jurists and politicians. I was not surprised especially that my voice was high, my pen very critical, and I was the fiercest among colleagues in exposing violations. As a result, I have become one of the regime’s most important targets. My house was attacked twice by pro-government thugs. Death threat calls and threats of kidnapping were a daily dose for me. That’s why I expected my arrest at any moment, especially after my arrest was rumored on that day for a reason that I still do not understand.
The events that took place burdened me emotionally. I was shocked by the regime, and I did not expect that it was capable of what it did. It suppressed people and killed them in cold blood. The regime demolished mosques and other places used for worship. It has set up armed civil militia to help them.
The regime has lost its senses.

I left my house to relieve some of the concern my family and friends had on my safety. Every night I used to prepare clothes for my arrest. After key political figures and activists were arrested with their pajamas, I decided to sleep with clothes "suitable" for the arrest. Then I decided to prepare clothes that took less than a minute to be worn.
At 3:30 am on March 19th, there was a loud knock on my door. I peeked into the door's magic eye where I saw Mohammad, my sister's husband, and thus realized that the "zero hour" has arrived. I told him quietly: "A minute". In less than a minute I opened the door. I was ready. I was ready to hear from him that the military mobbed his home in order to arrest me. I was ready to face the huge masked men whom we heard about in the last few days, ready to face the investigator's poisoned way of thinking, ready to be suffocated by water, beaten with a plastic hose, and even electrocuted. I was ready for everything and anything except the three words uttered by Mohammed:
 "They took Nada".

Suddenly, my strength turned into weakness and my courage was crushed. "How .. why .. Is there some sort of mistake?" I asked.
I found myself in front of a lot of questions but very few answers.

A group of 5 riot vehicles had surrounded my father's house in the Zinj at 2 am that same night. 16-20 masked men stormed the house. Unfortunately, my elder sister's son had spent the night at our house and thus witnessed the horror that my family had gone through and until the next day he thought they had come to arrest me. The masked men had pointed their machine guns in the face of my mother and father. They threatened to blow up one of my brothers' head in front of my parents. The picture of the blown- up head of martyr Ahmed Farhan was still present in everybody's memory. They threatened to arrest and torture my 60-year-old father. And they would have done more atrocious things had they not known that my brother works in the judiciary system. My brother was forced to go with them to Nada's house so half of the masked men left with him while the rest had kept my family members as hostages until the job was completed.
Who would have imagined!
My family kept as hostages?!  Masked men occupying my house and brandishing machine guns at the foreheads of my brothers!
I would not have seen anything like this even in my worst nightmares!

What did Nada do that deserves an arrest?!! She is not a member of any organization, not involved in politics, and does not even work in the largest government hospital. She has volunteered, as a physician, to treat demonstrators. Did she turn into "Bin Laden" because she treated the victims of the military? What will they do to her? Will she receive a double dose of punishment because she is my sister?

Incomplete thoughts, each thought cuts the idea of the previous one..  Another thought jumps and cancels it before it was completed. I reached Nada's house. Everyone was in shock but at the same time trying to calm the other. My mother called and tried to sound strong, but I can sense her muted anger and I can taste tears in her words. She told me that they showed off their power, but they are not as powerful as Allah.

I tried to console my brothers who started arriving at my sister's house. I also tried to calm down Mohammad who seemed as if his soul has left his body. Suddenly, an indescribable cold feeling ran through my body  although the weather was warm. I rushed to Nada's closet to take one of her coats or perhaps run away from everybody's eyes. I went to her room, and I can smell her perfumes. I opened the closet and pulled a fur coat. In a glimpse, I recalled her smile and I felt a sickening pain in my stomach.
Nada is in prison now!! The dirty hands of the military personnel extend to pull her. Can she bear such humiliation?! Another thought stormed my head.. What I will say to Lulwa and Alia when they wake up later and not find their mum?

I wish they had arrested me, hanged me, torn me to pieces, but not taken my sister!
Will they approve taking me as a substitute instead or her?
Everything paused in my head. I engaged in bitter weeping in the middle of her closet trying to hide my tears with my hand and hide my cries that wanted to penetrate the ceiling and shake the walls. I can hear the Dawn prayer now.
Allah is the Greatest.. Allah is the Greatest.
I lifted my head and could hear myself say "Allah is greater than all of those who try to dominate by force"!

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