A united family, despite everything
The 15th of July will mark the tenth year of our family’s separation. Hamza was 9 years old, Mahdi 6 years old and Zeynab 3 years old. Since the terrible event, they forever keep in their hearts the memory of the life of freedom, protection, joy and adventure that their father provided them with. They never stop asking for his return, in their own ways. Sometimes it is through heavy silences that speak louder than words, other times; it is through never ending talks, or through tears that remain unshed, due to modesty. But the faith in which they are growing up has permitted them to endure the situation and remain hopeful, despite everything.
They are now 18, 15 and 12 years of age, respectively.
After our return to France in March 2002, six months after the incarceration of my husband, we decided – my husband and I – that I would go back with the children to the United Kingdom due to the difficulties encountered in France regarding their education. There, I would be able to stay closer to them; which was vital, given the family predicament. It is my right, no matter what others want to make me believe, to dedicate my life to my house and children, before all else. It is a long term investment, and a decision which we do not regret today.
At first, we visited Djamel three to four times per year, for one, two or three weeks depending on the school holidays, without being allowed more than three visits per week. We were offered a lodging here and there, by relatives or friends, depending on the availability of our hosts. The journey is long, and by car, most of the time. The visits themselves required a lot of organisation. Firstly, the size of the room reserved for the visits had to be taken into account. This would determine whether we were going to be able to visit Djamel all together, or whether we had to leave someone behind; which left a bitter taste. To add to this, there was the sheer difficulty of holding a whole family in this cell, due to its size and the children’s age. Read the rest of this entry »