CAIRO: A desperate father is appealing to high-ranking officials to help him find his children, after their mother disappeared with them, despite a court ruling allowing visitations.
In the Friday issue of Al-Ahram newspaper, Ahmed Abdel Maguid El Damalawi, 48, an IT consultant, publicly pleaded both the ministers of the interior and justice to help him find his son Ali, 5, and daughter Sadim, 3, whom he has not seen for the last 284 days.
El Damalawi also used his IT expertise to launch the website www.ali-sadim.blogspot.com where he received a bevy of responses from the media as well as other fathers and children who are involved in similar situations.
“I’ve gained the sympathy of the media as well as the support of divorced men who have to grapple with the same dilemma, but no responses from officials, El Damalawi said.
On the website supporters can register their names and e-mails. So far El Damalawi has garnered the support of 137 people and received a collection of heart-rending messages showing sympathy to El Damalawi and his problem.
His plead in Al-Ahram would be El Damalawi’s second attempt to get the attention of high-ranking officials. “I will continue to place more in daily newspapers appealing to the first lady then to the president, telling them that I badly need to see my kids.
In his appeal El Damalawi says: “In spite of the court verdict issued by the Heliopolis Family Court in June 2007. for the last nine months I haven’t been able to see my kids Ali, 5, and Sadim, 3, by my wife Nermin Yamani Darwish. Where are my kids? In the country? Abroad? Will I be able to see them soon? … This is why I am asking for officials’ help, urging them to implement the ruling and put an end to my deprivation and the torture the children could be experiencing every time they ask: ‘where’s Dad?’
El Damalawi said he had to resort to such public notices because the decision to see his children can only be taken by their mother, even though the law stipulates otherwise.
“She can be in town, travel abroad and come back, yet she’s been given complete freedom of action and can’t be questioned. When I initially contacted my wife’s family I was told not to worry and that my children are taken care of. Now when I call they don’t respond and deny that they are present at home, said El Damalawi.
El Damalawi will join forces with Ru’ya, a society that has been formed to support separated and divorced fathers who have been unlawfully denied access to their children.
“Thousands of us are suffering. Next week I will publish a new notice and the rest of them will publish another in support of my situation.