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I am «Fatima» …. (Writings on a Small Family Book)

Ali Al-Dumaini
Thursday 16 August 2007

Translation By Amira Kashgary

Saudi Poet and dissidetn Ali Al-Dumaini dedicated this poem:

To Fatima and Mansour who have been forcibly divorced against their wills on the ground of un-equivalent lineage. To their two children who will endure the pain and agony of this divorce.


I am «Fatima»

I call not for waging wars I pray not for new delusions Suffice it To hold on to my little share of humanity To fiddle with my right to life behind bars. I claim not that my vision’s always right But I stand by my right to my destiny. Have I not the right to breathe like all humans? Isn’t my existence worthy of having its share of oxygen Imaginary as it may be? Am I made of a nature different from other human beings? I don’t go far in my dreams But I hold on to every ounce of my being to be who I am.

I am «Fatima» A woman from the land of arid desert and oil A woman from the land of traditions and holiness A woman who places her hands, soaked in darkness, on a dream: To merely live With her daughter, "Nuha"; With her son, "Sulaiman"; and With her husband, "Mansour"

I don’t ask for more I don’t settle for less

I am «Fatima», small but strong on her own Big with sympathizers in my long journey in the darkness of jail I’m living in!!

And with the light of the innate right I carry within all my senses!

Only to live with my small family Kept in my heart After my big family, stretching from sea to sea, has lost me.

When I put my little son in my lap Along that endless prison wall When I lull him to sleep so that I have some solitude When I sleep lonely, scattered and isolated I feel more love for the life I have chosen, For the husband I have accepted and For the little children I’ve begotten.

I am «Fatima» Never begging for a bite or for dignity Never summoned my tears to join that river of larger tears Never waiting for pity from a soul.

I am «Fatima» Only waiting for fellowmen to open a door to my simple rights To live together with my son, daughter and husband in our little house, To open our eyes in the morning to a clear sun As tender on us as young flower buds in this universe.

To fix my daughter’s uniform before she sets off to her nursery school close to my heart

To relieve her father from carrying her on his shoulders throughout the times I was lost in the dungeons and charities

For Sulaiman and Nuha to laugh listening to their father’s songs

Or to have them laugh to a family love quarrel between their parents

I am «Fatima» I seek not to wage war on anybody

I hope not for a fight between the trees and their branches Or between the flowers and their roots

I merely march on towards my humanity Which has been written in the lines of a true love story Towards a marriage blessed by my father Together with my future husband!!

I am «Fatima»

A tree in this open space I monopolize neither "righteousness" nor truth, I explain not why the stars sleep near dawn I open my eyes on nothing but what makes the world happier, more transparent, and more just, I am the innocent daughter of this country And its true seed I don’t take of its air more than I need I don’t see of the sky further than what’s enough for me And for my simple freedom I don’t open my eyes on more dewy blueness than I need To embrace my son, my daughter, and my husband.

I am «Fatima»

With my own hand I’ve chosen my poison and my medicine With my own fingers I’ve opened my cell Inside me I carried my son Till he came into the dark prison night, Sharing his mother the harsh realities and details of the place …

When Sulaiman smiles Hope rekindles in my withered branches, When he cries, I feel the walls of my vanishing jail cell, The day his sister "Nuha" is allowed to visit me, we will celebrate our wedding under the shades of the black walls, We will open our windows to "a hope incurable " That we will unite together A father, a mother and their two little children In joyous freedom of hope, In sorrows of the present and flowers of future smiles.

I am «Fatima» Not calling for war Not calling for peace Not calling for condemnation nor for dispute, That’s is not for me,

But I raise my wounded voice For the wind to hear For voices of all times to recount, To remain in power in open places I’m deprived of

I am «Fatima»

I stand by my right to life

My right to «love» And my right to live with my children and my husband As all birds live peacefully in their nests!!

Dhahran 19-7-2007

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