What would you do if they took your family?

Written by Christina I’lene

Zainab Al-Khawaja is making the choice.[1] She is the daughter of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, the former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.  Last week, in the middle of the night, masked armed forces burst into her home. Her husband, Mohammed Al-Masqatik, and father were dragged and thrown down the stairs, beaten severely, punched, kicked and choked. She remembers her father gasping for air, saying he could not breathe. It was then when her father, who was also once the director of the Middle East-North Africa region for the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders’ Front Line, finally lost consciousness. The men were taken to an unknown location.

In response, Zainab is starving herself to death. She demands that her nation’s leaders return her father and husband or she will continue on her hunger strike. She fights for her family, like her father fights for the rights of others.  What would you do?[2]

The twist?  If her family is not released, Zainab will leave behind a one-year old daughter.

Now, what would you do?

If her family is not released her child will be raised by others because for the daughter of the defender of human rights, to die with dignity is better than to live as a slave.[3]

Zainab will potentially losing a daughter, fighting the only way she can, with honor.


[1] http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/16/bahrain.hunger.strike/index.html

[2] Zainab wants the U.S. government to stop its support for the nation’s regime of corruption, murder and torture.

[3] Zainab is referring to Bahrain’s royal family, the Al-Khalifa’s, whose regime has ruled the country since the 18th century.  U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet calls Bahrain a home-port, so Zainab and many critics say that although the U.S. government has been quick to denounce regimes in Egypt, Syria and Libya, its attitude toward Bahrain has been much more muted.

WET MagazineWhat would you do if they took your family?

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