Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cry Me a River... Again.

Yeah. Don't think so. "My daughter's husband killed her." Actually, I do have some sympathy for this mother. I cannot imagine the nightmare she must be living in. There can be no worse horror in the entire world than losing a child. Still. The daughter was, obviously, blind to reality when she decided to marry a man who may have killed her. What is that saying? "Love is blind." Something like that.

The dead woman, 19-year-old Asma Khadim Hussain, "was married 18 months ago." Her mother says, "My daughter did not have a natural death. She was killed by her husband, Mumtaz Husain [sic]... I am sure she was poisoned. Hussain was already married with children but had not disclosed this to her daughter before their marriage." Big deal. He is allowed to have four wives. You know that; we know that. Hard to muster up much sympathy for a foolish 18-year-old girl marrying a man and learning after the fact that she wasn't number one. So Asma was wife number two. Your point? The mother, Farakh Taj, whines that her "daughter had an argument with him when she learnt that her husband had four children with his first wife." The son-in-law then "broke off relations with us, not allowing Asma to meet us." Umm hmm. Then what...

The young bride left the Kingdom for Pakistan with her groom some sixteen days after she gave birth to a daughter. Apparently a son of the first wife "started urging his father to divorce Asma." Hussain didn't bother telling wife number one that he had married again and now had wife number two. That, of course, being his right - to have four different wives. After Asma left the Kingdom, Hussain called his in-laws and said that she "had met with an accident." A car accident. Met with an accident? You don't meet an accident. You have an accident. Symantics. Not sure if the accident was in Saudi or Pakistan - but the mother asked her daughter, who lived in Jeddah, to inquire about Asma's condition. "We learned through her sister that Asma was poisoned and that she was in critical condition." Quite an accident... Oh, and which story is it? The car accident one, or the poisoned one? Trivial details.

"The doctor said she had consumed a poisonous liquid," and the mother "alleged that Hussain poisoned Asma with a chemical he must have brought from the laundry" where he worked [he was the manager, not an actual laundry worker]. Police say "that Hussain... brought home the chemical in a beverage bottle and had given it to Asma by mistake." Stranger things have happened. "According to Asma, who spoke when she was under treatment in the hospital, she was having dinner and when she asked for water, Hussain went to his car and brought a Pepsi bottle. She took a sip of the liquid and immediately realized that it was not water." Red flags! Red flags! Bells and whistles, too! Water in a Pepsi bottle. And he went to his car to get it? Well, okay. The mother wants to know, "How is it possible that any company or a responsible person can allow someone to fill bottles with a dangerous chemical, without anyone knowing about it?" That'd be fairly simple, if you ask me. I have an Evian bottle that I carry in my suitcase when I travel that has Woollite in it. Of course, the liquid in the bottle is blue and I would never confuse it with water, and I don't know if I would consider Woollite to be a dangerous chemical, but it was pretty easy to pour some Woollite in the Evian bottle. I didn't even spill any or get any on me.

The whole matter is just a mess for Asma's parents. They are requesting investigations and trying to get authorities from various government offices involved. The son-in-law is denying that Asma's death was anything but an accident [naturally]. A report from the same hospital that Asma was in, prior to her death, states "that the same poisonous liquid was consumed by Hussain, who was admitted to the hospital for three days." Hussain, in his defense, says, "that his wife's death was an accident that happened because he works in a laundry. Our purchase manager orders chemicals... The company sent a sample in a bottle of Pepsi, which my assistant supervisor handed over to me." Blah, blah, blah. So, it was a clear poisonous liquid, then, in a Pepsi bottle, that everyone thought was water? It didn't smell funny?!? "Hussain blamed the company and its manager for sending the chemicl in a soft drink bottle and claimed that the company had accepted its mistake." What?!! Wait. It gets better: "The supervisor told me that it was a Pepsi sample. [I thought it was water. Do they make "clear" Pepsi? I'm not a Pepsi drinker. I stick to Diet Coke.] I said that it is not my job to test the sample and that it should be sent to the food manager. However, due to a communication error, I took the bottle home." Does anyone else thing there is something very, very wrong with Hussain's story, or is it just me?

Hussain has been in the Kingdom for 25 years and says, "I am aware of the rules and regulations here. I know I will be in trouble if I do something wrong." Then there is the whole bit about the documentation of her passport and her iqama and who the real man responsible for Asma really was. Supposedly Hussain lost Asma's passport - it was in the bag which she took to the hospital with it. None of it makes much sense. As much as I don't wish death on any young woman, marriage in The Sandbox, where women have virtually no rights, is a risk. You made your bed. You lie in it. As a result a 19-year-old woman is dead.

And so is this girl; 10-years-old. Found dead on the side of the road. No other details.

1 comment:

  1. Asma sounds like dowry-based "cooking accidents" in India. Perhaps not enough money involved in the marrage deal.

    The 10-year-old sounds more like juju magic cases in South Africa. Children dumped in the ditch or on the road after harvesting body parts for potions. Does that sort of thing occur in the other "SA"?

    There must be a special place in hell for people who commit such crimes.


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