The theme of Ramadan and the Mixed Couple/Family has become an urgent one in the form of an urgent message from an American woman whose mixed marriage with a Bahraini went terribly awry.
Indeed, her controlling, and wife-beating husband also sexually abused both of their daughters for years, until finally the oldest, then 18, spoke up, 3 years ago, to reveal the truth. To her great credit, this woman immediately removed her children from danger; and succeeded in obtaining a divorce and custody of all 5 children from the Bahraini courts. She kept all of them in school, and got them much needed therapy. Unfortunately, their father, who kept her in the abusive marriage for 20 years by threatening to take them from her, has not seen fit to pay support. Nor has his family, who has turned their backs on mother and all of the children.
As often happens in international marriages, due to necessity and different emotional needs, the family has been geographically split for a year—with mother, the 2 daughters, and the youngest son returning to her family in the USA, while the 2 oldest sons stayed in the Gulf for a year to complete their education. When one of them experienced serious emotional difficulties in January 2009, she returned to Bahrain expecting both to help him, and to take up a job offer. Although he has improved, her finances have not. The promised job (from a reliable source) did not materialize, and despite all her major job seeking efforts neither has any other.
Then, on the 4th day of Ramadan, Tuesday August 25, 2009, “a miracle happened”! Her son, whom she would not leave behind, finally agreed to move to the USA so that all of them could be together again, supporting each other emotionally and materially. There, they can benefit from 5 of them (mother and 4 of the children) being of legal age to work, and from sufficient job opportunities to give them a combined living wage as a nuclear family. There, they would have increased educational opportunities, and greater health care options.
By now, some of you will have recognized that I am telling the story of an American redhead. No, not this one, with this daughter,
and this family reunification problem,
but rather the much more real and contemporary Coolred, Lee Ann Fleetwood, who is a blogger herself, and a commentator on many Saudi and American-Saudi blogs, where she is known for her intelligence, wit, and “coolness”.
So, why write about this sadly displaced family now, and how does her story relate to Ramadan?
Well, Coolred/Lee Ann, is hoping to get the whole family together and settled back in the USA as soon as possible—to be in time for the fall semester of school, and to capitalize on low Ramadan airfares for 4: herself, 2 sons, and 1 daughter who returned to Bahrain in May at the end of a successful school year.
Coolred/ Lee Ann
Read about it in her own words It’s Over People…the Fat Lady Has Sung. About Freakin’ Time; and, if you can, please contribute now what you are able, whether from Ramadan zakat, sadaqa, Christian caritas, a Jewish mitzvah, or secular humanitarianism.
Regarding the theme of mixed marriages and families, and international separation—whether because of delayed marriage approvals, delayed immigration and work papers, differing academic or career commitments, family illness, or emotional-physical separation and divorce—what experiences have you had or known about? What were the circumstances, and how did those involved cope? How were decisions about geography made? Who lived where and why?
Regarding Ramadan zakat, sadaqa, charity, and Ramadan “miracles”: have you ever had the experience of a particularly remarkable occurrence during Ramadan? A miraculous change of heart or charitable act? A new found clarity of purpose or vision for the future? A new direction, spiritual, physical, or geographical? Do you know of the same for others?