Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center

Emirati women give a lesson in courage and sacrifice

8 Mar 2022
متوفر باللغة

On March 8 each year, the world celebrates International Women's Day to highlight the role of women in society and respect them, highlight their courage in performing extraordinary tasks, and recognize their great sacrifices on the way to a dignified life for their families.

This occasion calls us to remember the great role and sacrifices made by Emirati women, especially those who live in harsh conditions in the absence of their husbands, fathers or children, especially those who were absent due to arbitrary arrest, as is the case with prisoners of conscience.

Dozens of Emirati women lived in financial and psychological difficulties after the authorities arrested the breadwinner or one of his family members. Nevertheless, they showed great courage and willingness to sacrifice.

The story of the mother of the detainee, Dr. Muhammad Al-Roken, is one of those stories. The 75-year-old woman insisted to travel for more than 3 hours, in the mid of summer heat and physical exhaustion, to visit her son in Al-Razeen prison.

On 7/7/2013, on a road full of trucks and camels to reach that prison, Al-Roken’s mother ventured to see her son, and after arriving, she sat in the waiting room for more than half an hour waiting for permission from the authorities to enter a second room, and usually it is through a covered-roof car, because of sun heat, she nevertheless refused to get into the car of the authorities arresting her son, and went on foot in the scorching sun, then sat waiting in the second room for more than another 30 minutes.

This was the first time the mother had visited her detained son. When she entered the visiting room, she was shocked by the presence of a glass barrier between her and Mohammad. She required to see her son face to face.

However, the prison administration refused the request of the old woman who was eager to see her son, and in response to this, she refused this deliberate humiliation practiced by the prison administration against the families of detainees, and she left without speaking to her son, and returned on foot to the first room refusing to ride in the prison administration’s car.

Certainly, Al-Roken’s mother was very sad after she returned from this long journey, without speaking to her son. Like any mother in the world, she is ready to sacrifice everything in order to touch her son, but she could not bear the humiliation that the authorities are trying to impose on the families of the detainees. She did not accept the idea of watching her son from behind the glass, so she had this courageous stance to object to the glass barrier, she didn’t care about the threats of the guards and the prison administration.

Also, among the great the sacrifices of Emirati women, there is the story of Mrs. Awatef, the wife of detainee of conscience Abdul Salam Darweesh Al Marzouqi, which reveals the greatness and sincerity of Emirati women, as circumstances - how difficult they were- didn’t prevent them from providing a decent life for their children.

Mrs. Awatef was the beginning of her husband’s arrest. She lives in the UAE, and she travels a long distance of more than 3 hours to visit him in prison, and she takes her young children who suffer from autism disorders and nervous spasms to relieve them of their pain, and despite the authorities cancelling the visit after they arrived, She insisted on seeing her husband permanently.

In 2016, her children’s health deteriorated, so she had to travel to the US for treatment, but after a few months she was surprised by Abu Dhabi’s decision to revoke the citizenship of her children, stop funding their treatment and stop her husband’s pension with the aim of forcing her to return, but she refused to submit to this blackmail, and completed the treatment of her children, striving In providing them with a decent life despite the harshness of exile and the absence of their father.

As for strength and courage, the journey Alaa Al-Siddiq, daughter of detainee of conscience Muhammad Al-Siddiq, is another example, despite her young age, as she chose a difficult and risky path to defend her father.

This Emirati young woman endured exile twice, the first when she was forced to leave her country to Qatar as a result of the authorities’ threat, and the second when she travelled from Doha to London, to continue to defend her father and the rights of the Emiratis.

In the UK, Alaa made a wonderful example of a hardworking and intelligent Emirati woman, becoming the Director of the Human Rights Organization ALQST, and later an inspiring role model for thousands of young Arabs, but she died suddenly, becoming one of the icons in the defines of human rights in the world.

The stories of Alaa, Mrs. Awatef and the mother of Al-Roken are just simple examples of the sacrifice of the Emirati woman and thier ability to overcome the most difficult circumstances. In the model of Al-Roken’s mother, we see the Emirati mother with a big heart and longing to see her son, and in the story of Mrs. Awatef, we see her patience and ability to bear the burdens of life, and in Alaa we see courage and a distinguished presence. We Salute Emirati women on this day and every day.