The journey of an expatriate

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Just who are these expatriates who are living in the Kingdom. Some Saudis do not look kindly on their presence for a variety of reasons, but perhaps if they knew of their journey, they might take a softer stance. The following is the story of an expat who grew up in the Kingdom. In his words:

“Hello. I saw your article about Saudi nationality in Saudi Gazette. I would like to bring forward my case. My name is A.S. I was born in Saudi Arabia in the city of Taima in the Tabuk region. I lived here in this country for 16 years, and now I am in India for only two years to complete my high school education. Next year I will study at the Islamic University of Madinah for Higher Islamic Studies.

“In my whole life I never knew any house other than the Kingdom. Here in India I suffer attacks from Hindus and some Muslims who say that I am protecting the Saudi government and I am a Wahhabi. I face a lot of bullying just because I cannot speak their language and sometimes mistakenly confuse the Arabic language with their language in order to talk to them.

“I do not know any dress other than the Saudi national dress, one which projects chastity, and I did not like to dress like some young people do even when I was in Saudi Arabia. One Friday, I wore the official Saudi dress and went to the mosque in India to perform Friday prayers ...They expelled me from the mosque.

“I have lived most of my life in Saudi Arabia. My mother and father, God keep them, are Indians. My father works for the Saudi Electricity Company. My mother worked at Taima General Hospital, working for the Kingdom for 27 years. They were busy with their time and had little time for me. They left me at one of the tribes of the region. My father was an elderly man and my mother was also not young. Um Bahi R. from the tribe took me in. Yes, I was a little boy my age was about two months and yet had to leave my parents for the mother of Bahi. I used to go with her to shepherd the sheep and protect the herds from any harm.

“So far as I remember the childhood days with her and her husband who I called grandfather like the rest, my sweet childhood was with my grandmother or mother, and I grew up in a family that loved me more than other Saudi children. I used to sit with them, eat with them, and they played with me. They still consider me to be their child.

“After a few years I left Tabuk to study at the Indian International School. I remember the day of the National Day celebration. They asked me to join them, I was wearing the national dress I was wearing, and I was dancing in the traditional Saudi way. I even had a sword to display in the traditional method.

“On the day I went to the school for the celebration, Mr. Mohamed Al-Juhani from the Ministry of Education was our guest, and was surprised at my performance. He asked the principal if I was a Saudi student at the Indian school. He even called me and asked me the same. I replied that I was an Indian by birth. I surprised Mr. Mohamed Al-Juhani with my explanation. And after that, every time he used to ask the manager to send me to him for events and national celebrations and I participated in them. A notice once came to the principal that Mohammed Al-Juhani had requested that I participate in the recitation of Arabic poetry. After the ceremony I received a standing ovation and they all blessed me for my win.

“When all the people who worked with Mr. Juhani were told the news that I would have leave for India to pursue my studies, they told me not to go. I asked why and they said ‘Stay here, the government is sure to give you the nationality!’ I was beaming with happiness and I was crying with joy in my heart because I thought that the government would grant me the nationality.

“And then the day came when I was wailing at the airport. I was crying as I was forcing to leave the Kingdom.

“I do not have any country that I feel I belong to except Saudi Arabia and I would die for it. I want to get Saudi nationality. This has been my journey. A.S.”

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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