When Will My Father Return

The perplexity of the lost answer.

Thursday, April 4, 2024
When Will My Father Return

"My children ask me every day: When will Daddy come back? My youngest daughter says: Open the room; Daddy is sleeping inside, and when we open the door for her, she is convinced that he is not there..."

With these words, Mrs. Hameeda Hamed (pseudonym) narrates a part of her and her children's suffering in the absence of their father, Saber Ahmed (pseudonym) (50 years old), who has been arbitrarily detained for about three years by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group, without crime or trial.

Saber lives with his family in a small village in Damt district, Al Dhale Governorate, called "Al Qahra," and works as a farmer.

Mrs. Hameeda (Ahmed's wife) says:

 “On October 27, 2021, I was with him in the valley when two armed men, one of them wearing a Meri (military uniform), approached us and called out to him: ‘Come with us, and you'll be back.’ When he started to get up, I asked him: Where are you going? He said, ‘I will go with them and come back.’

The two armed men who took my husband were from the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group, and did not have a car as the place was a mountainous area inaccessible by vehicles. They knew my husband and he knew them, but he went with them and never returned!

We remained for about twenty days, knowing nothing about him. We asked about him in the village, and they assured us that he would return; he hadn't done anything wrong... After that, he phoned us, saying: ‘Don't worry, I'm fine, and I'm now in Dhamar... Tell my parents that I'm fine.’

Later, I found out that they initially imprisoned him for five days in Damt, then transferred him to the political security prison in Dhamar. He would call us once a week or every two weeks, and each time he would ask: ‘Is anyone following up on me? When will they release me?’ I would reassure him, saying: ‘God willing, soon.’”

Saber's wife continues:

 “My husband is still detained to this day, away from me and our daughters. We have six daughters and two sons; he used to provide for us and take care of us and his parents. Now, my son and I work in the valley to support them, especially since his parents are elderly and need special care.

When we visit him, we are only allowed a quarter or half an hour, then we leave. We bring food from home to eat with him and feel like he is still with us. Afterward, we return home and reminisce about those moments, crying bitterly.

My older children always inquire about their father's return, and occasionally one of them comes to me with excitement, sharing that they saw their father returning home in a dream. I respond to them with hope: "God willing, he will be released and return home." Yet, afterward, I find myself alone, overwhelmed with tears. What can I do? I am powerless, unable to change our circumstances. All I can do is fervently pray for Saber's safe return to us, to his children, and to his parents, to restore our lives to how they were before.

Our lives have dwindled into a cycle of waiting, exhaustion, and tears, haunted by endless questions. Every day, we eagerly anticipate his return, longing for the familiar sound of his laughter that once filled our home. Yet, it all seems like a fleeting dream, abruptly shattered by the harsh reality we wake up to each morning, with him still not home.

My husband now endures severe psychological anguish within his cell. There was even a time he attempted suicide! Life feels utterly meaningless without him. Nonetheless, our faith in God remains steadfast, holding onto the hope that he will return. Yet, the waiting has stretched on, weighing heavily on both us and him, as well as on his aging parents. I dread that something dire might befall them before their hearts find solace in his release and safe return."