onsdag, januari 20, 2010

Daniel Maldonado skriver från fängelset om Safia Benaouda

När svenska Safia Benaouda, då bara 17 år och gravid, för första gången greps i en islamistisk stridszon färdades hon i ett större sällskap med kvinnor och barn. Förhållandena var naturligtvis fruktansvärda, och en kvinna dog till och med i Safia Benaoudas armar. Kvinnan var, vilket Safia Benaouda aldrig framhävt, hustru till en man dömd för terroristbrott.

NY Times beskrev det delvis i artikeln Young Tourists Pick Somalia, and a 3-Nation Ordeal Begins:

With fighting raging nearby, they rapidly found themselves fleeing south toward Kenya, along with hundreds of other people. On the way, she said, an American woman — the wife of Daniel Maldonado, who pleaded guilty in Houston federal court Thursday to receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization — died in her lap. Ms. Benaouda took over care of the woman’s three small children, ages 7 months to 9 years old, surviving by eating rice and drinking muddy floodwater and hiding in the bush when military helicopters buzzed overhead.
Tidningen hämtade storyn om Benaouda delvis från den så kallade MR-gruppen Cageprisoners, vars rapport Inside Africa's War on Terror byggde till stor del på Benaoudas vittnesmål. Här berättade hon bland annat om den fruktansvärda vanskötsel och misshandel som utgjorde kenyansk fångenskap, men också om hur hon och svenske maken Munir Awad tog sig ur Somalia när de etiopiska styrkorna ryckte in i Somalia.
Somalis began to offer help to foreigners for a fee in order to escort them to the Kenyan border and to safety. The couple taking the opportunity travelled with their guides to Kismayo where many other foreign nationals had also be brought by similar guides as they all prepared to cross into Kenya to escape the fighting. Munir went with a group of men towards Kenya as Safia travelled with a separate group of women. They were both arrested on arriving in Kenya in different groups.
Fångenskapen måste ha varit snudd på outhärdlig. Safia Benaouda verkar dock ha haft ett stort hjärta, och fungerat som ett starkt stöd till de små barn som mist sin mor. Hon berättade för Cageprisoners:
Rahma the four-year-old had a distended tummy. Her eyes were distant. She looked as though she was in another world. She looked at you and just looked through you. Her mum had died, her dad had gone and her brother had gone. She was just there with her little sister, Sumayyah, the baby. Because we were sleeping on cement in the cell, it was so cold. We were grown-ups, but the children looked horrible in the mornings. They were so cold, their noses were running and were sneezing. We were afraid they would get pneumonia. The baby had a bad nappy rash. She was bleeding with big blisters. They all had bad diarrhoea. We were begging the interrogators to give them medical attention. They did not care at all. We felt so horrible. One day Sumayyah was screaming so much because she was in so much pain.
I och med att barnens pappa Daniel Maldonado åtalades – och erkände – vid hemkomsten till USA vet vi väl vem han är. Men vem var hustrun, egentligen, som dog i Safia Benaoudas armar? Var hon, som det brukar heta om Safia Benaouda, turist ditlurad av den äventyrslystne partnern? Eller var hon, som vi har gott skäl att misstänka om de flesta som greps i sällskapet, i Somalia för att hjälpa fram ett emirat?

Nyligen publicerades My imprisonment (Maktabah), en antologi av de texter som Daniel Maldonado skrivit i amerikanskt fängelse och som cirkulerar på olika jihadforum (där Maldonado prisas som en krigshjälte). Han skriver mycket om sin hustru Umm Musa, och jag återpublicerar här ett långt utdrag.
Once my wife (may Allah accept her) and I found out that an Islamic State was established in Somalia, especially after the taking of Mogadishu, we decided to go and make Hijra (migration) from Egypt. Immediately we made plans and tried to sell everything in our apartment.


She became extremely devout; everything about her changed for the better. Her faith was stronger than I have ever seen! She became so pious, and put all her trust in Allah to the point I felt I was no longer even on the same level as her... Not even close!


After the bombing of Mogadishu airport, I advised that she and the children leave to the South, to meet me as soon as possible. I remember asking her, "Did you hear it [the bombing]?" She said, "Yes". I asked, "Were you scared?" She simply said, "No".

I met her and the children in a town between the area she had left and the area we would head to before she would leave the country. She had dirt all over her abaya from the difficult trip; her eyes were tired and weary. I approached her and said, "I swear, I have never seen you more beautiful than today!"

So we went further South. We would stay in a house with many other families before we left (the next morning). After Fajr, the sisters started preparing to evacuate. Umm Musa refused to go. After some of us spoke to her, she – while weeping – listened and prepared to leave.

Knowing that the Ethiopians were coming and the women were about to leave, she thought that there was a great possibility I would be killed. So we had a nice, long beautiful talk as she prepared. We expressed our love and admiration for each other. She thanked me by saying: "You are the greatest teacher I have ever had. You are the only man who has stuck around in my life. (Her father and grandfather etc were never around for her. She grew up in a house of women.) You are a real man. I love you so much." She was weeping. Then she said something that I will never forget:

"Forgive me... I could not ask Allah to make you a martyr. I love you too much to see
you go.... So I asked Him to make me a martyr instead!"

After much loving talk, the S.U.V. started to ride away. Her eyes were watering as it pulled off... Seeing it was slowly pulling away past me, I said: "Peace be upon you, oh woman of Paradise InshaAllah!" She asked why I said such. I said "If any women are the women of Paradise, it is you, the women of the migrants."

The S.U.V. pulled away and she recited a verse from Qur'an as they drove off... It was Eid. That would be the last time I would see my wife... May Allah accept my beloved and join me with her in Paradise with our children. Ameen.


Suddenly someone yelled out "Soldiers!" The Kenyan military stormed in, pulled us out, laid us on the ground and beat many of us. Then we were thrown half-naked onto a truck on top of each other, to be driven through the jungle to the next town, in the freezing cold night. Thrown out of the truck, we were pushed around, beaten some more, laughed at, humiliated and filmed, then thrown into a dark, dirty cell. Four walls and a bucket, that's it. Suddenly a Yemeni brother and I started singing "Ghurabah" (The Strangers). We even wept. That night we would be pushed around, beaten and interrogated by the Kenyan police.

The next morning, we were woken up to be cable-tied, blindfolded, mocked and thrown into a truck that brought us to a helicopter. We were thrown off the truck onto the ground and put on the helicopter, then taken to an airport and put on a plane. The whole flight we were mocked and threatened whilst blindfolded and cable-tied. The brothers and I heard a sister on the plane with kids. One brother asked: "Are you okay, sister?" Suddenly one of the police or soldiers came around and said, "Shut up!" The he told her, "If you speak again, I will tape your eyes shut."

No one would utter a word throughout the whole flight to Nairobi... Wondering if I could sneak a peek to see what was going on, I noticed that the baby and the little girl were my daughters! Frantically, I would try to peer everywhere I could to see if my wife was seated close by. All I could think was: "Oh Allah! Where is she? She would never leave the baby with someone else. Where is our son Musa?"

After landing, I would be pulled off the plane with the others. I could not contain myself. I asked the sister while being pulled off, "Sister! Do you know my wife?" She quickly responded "Yes!" I asked where she was, and the sister replied "Your daughters are fine." I exclaimed while being roughly pulled off: "My wife and my son?" She again stated: "Your daughters are fine; they are okay."


One day, while sitting on the cold hard floor, I mentioned my love for, and desire to see my wife and kids. I expressed my worry about the situation on the plane, although I was told all is well. One of the brothers stared at me and then stated that he needed to pray. I wondered; it was not prayer time. He finished and then told the brother next to me: "Tell him..." A tear rolled down my cheek... I knew now what they were about to disclose. I leaned closer to the brother, voice cracking, heart torn but hesitant until confirmation.

"Tell me what?! What are you going to tell me?" I was crying. He said, "We were told that an American woman with three children got sick and died on the way. They buried her as a martyr... I'm sorry brother..." I immediately stood up, tears pouring like never before. My whole world felt as if it had ended. I paced the cell and then leaned on the wall crying, "Don't, not here! Don't tell me this here! No... no... Oh Allah, Oh Allah" One of the older brothers embraced me and quietly repeated in Arabic: "Patience my brother, patience; it is from Allah." I slumped down the wall on my back until I was seated. Tears in my eyes, I looked up and noticed how everyone was crying with me. I asked about my son; no–one knew anything.


The hardest part of this whole ordeal was losing my best friend, my wife, my beloved, my soul mate, the mother of my children. May Allah accept her, ameen. She once told me in Somalia that she never felt so close to Allah and that she wished for Shahadah (martyrdom). "Whoever wishes to meet Allah, Allah will wish to meet him." It is known that whoever protects their life, property, family and religion and dies while doing so is a martyr. She died while doing all of the above! We know about the Hadith (Prophetic tradition) about the one who dies of fever and sickness or plague. We all know about the one who migrates for Allah and dies doing such. I cannot think of a reason that she wouldn't be Shaheed (martyred). She got what she asked for: body not washed for burial [a martyr's body is not washed for burial], buried in the land she loved and did not want to leave.

You know, this comes as no surprise, as I have never known Umm Musa (may Allah accept her) to raise her hands (in supplication) except that Allah gave her exactly what she asked for. For instance, after the birth of our son, the doctors said she would not be able to have children again, due to many complications. Praise be to Allah! She gave me two beautiful daughters – exactly what she wanted!

She was simple and extremely humble, never making people feel beneath her. She was not the scholarly type, but she practiced what she knew. If you could prove it from The Book (Qur'an) and the Sunnah (Prophetic Way), she would not argue, but submit to the proofs. She feared Allah so much! I remember her telling me while crying as if she had lost a beloved one, that she committed a grave wrong when we first became Muslim. She explained that she feared she would never be forgiven. I asked her what it was.

She said that she once exclaimed "Jesus Christ!" when angry or surprised. I asked, "Were you calling upon him (in invocation)?" She cried, saying "No", explaining that it was just something she grew up saying without meaning. I laughed in admiration and told her not to worry, that she did nothing wrong. Moreover, the fact that she feared Allah so much that she worried over something that any new Muslim would do, made her even better! I truly miss her. May Allah accept her and reunite me with her and our children in Paradise, ameen.


I was brought to another prison to stay at and was joined by my two daughters! I asked
my four year old, while holding the baby, "What happened to Mommy?" She said in a soft, yet very hurt voice: "Mommy got hot with the fever... She went to Allah... They put her in the ground..." I burst into tears and held her, telling her: "I'm sorry. Daddy's sorry..." Then I asked her, "Where is your brother?" She paused and said, "He ran away into the jungle... he only has one sandal Daddy..." I asked the police if they had a little boy in custody. They replied in the negative... That night I was put in a cell while my daughters were kept somewhere else. Perhaps they were with the woman whom they were arrested with or with female police officers across the street.

I thanked Allah, praised him and asked Him for a miracle regarding my family being put together. I called on Him saying, "You are the One who gathers. Gather me and my family here!"

I later awoke to the sound of a voice at the reception desk. It was a familiar voice, a
young boy explaining why he wasn't in school. It was the voice of my son! I jumped up and yelled his name through the door. He ran past the police to the door crying, "Dad?
Is that you?" They opened the door and he embraced me without any hesitation. We cried together in each other's arms... The police asked me: "This is your son?" It became obvious that their bringing him to that police station was unintentional.

I asked Musa what had happened. He told me that his mother got sick and the brothers told him that they were taking her to the hospital. This was miles and miles deep in the jungle on the road to Kenya. They clearly said this not to upset him. Muhammad had been with the men bringing the women over the border. He told me that jets had attacked them and everyone fled. He said that he saw his "uncle getting his stomach blown out."

He explained that he got down, and when they came again he ran into the trees. The
brothers called out to him, but he couldn't find them. He got lost in the jungle for two nights, surviving on berries and dirty water that he'd found. He would retrace his steps back to where they were camped. He told me that everything was black and burnt. Even the wheels on the car were melted. Musa found his way to a village where "A man with a cow" took him in and fed him. Later this man handed him in to the Kenyan military. The next day, all my children were reunited with me, Alhamdulillah!

I had to tell my son about his mother... I explained that I had something to tell him that will be difficult. He stood there awaiting this important news as if nothing was wrong. I said, "Your mother has left this world my son." He said, "No Dad, they took her to the hospital." I told him: "Son, they said that to you so you wouldn't get upset.. I'm sorry; your mother died." He looked at me weeping, and without a tear in his eye he looked towards the heavens and said, "Allah has willed it. InshaAllah I will see her in Paradise."
En fantastisk historia. Med ett propagandavärde som utnyttjas maximalt. Här har de ständigt tigande Safia Benaouda, Munir Awad och Mehdi Ghezali en hel del att lära om narrativets makt.

Bilden av Umm Musa är den av en kvinna med stark, för att inte säga allt annat överskuggande, religiös hängivenhet. Så fort beskedet kommer om att en islamisk stat är i färd att upprättas vill hon flytta dit. Väl där fylls hon av religiös nit. Hon inte bara älskar, hon fruktar gud. När bomberna faller får man nästan slita henne från landet. Hon vill inte separeras från sin make trots att hon vet att han, och därmed hon, riskerar trolig död. Hon ber gud om att få bli martyr. Och hon uppfostrar sina barn till samma hållning. Det säger i alla fall hennes närmaste vän, hennes make Daniel Maldonado.

Varför ska jag tro att Safia Benaouda och hennes man bara var turister?