[Blog] Love knows no boundary: The Power of Love. By Jose Mario De Vega

Love knows no boundary: The Power of Love

By Jose Mario De Vega

I refer to that heart-warming news report of a young Saudi woman who followed her lover, defied her family, left her land and crossed the boundary illegally to Yemen to give in and fulfill the wishes and dictates of her heart.

Mario De Vega

According to the Saeed Al Batati of the Gulf News “Saudi woman elopes, seeks asylum in Yemen”, November 20:

“A Saudi woman who fled her home last month to seek asylum in Yemen said that she would rather die than be forced to return home and marry a man she did not love.”

“The girl’s case came to the fore when the Saudi daily Okaz reported in mid-October that a Saudi man’s 21-year old daughter Huda had been abducted from their house in the Saudi province of Asir. Nearly ten days after her disappearance, Huda appeared before a Yemeni court saying that she was not abducted but willingly ran away from her family’s home to Yemen when her family refused her beloved’s marriage proposal.”

I commend the Sana’a-based HOOD human rights organization that promptly sent a lawyer to defend her in the court.

The executive director of the said organization, Abdul Rahan Barman said:

“We support Huda since she is a human being who wants to defend her right of choosing her partner…

“Her return to Saudi Arabia puts her life at risk. We discussed her case with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who agreed to review it. The moment she is granted asylum, the government has no right to take any actions against her.”

I am also commending the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) for taking up the cudgel for Huda. As they said in a statement urging Yemen not to deport Huda:

“She fears physical harm from her family members, whom she said have beaten her in the past, if she is returned to Saudi Arabia.”

As reported by the Al Jazeera, “Saudi Juliet fights to be with Yemeni Romeo”, November 25th:

“The lovers’ plight has gripped imaginations in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, deeply conservative countries where the young woman’s courage is seen as astonishing.

“The pair met while al-Qadi was working at a mobile telephone shop in Saudi Arabia.

“Al-Niran not only went against the wishes of her family, who said she could not marry Arafat, but also dared to flee the country and follow him to Yemen in October.”

All throughout the course of Huda’s trial, she consistently refused the assistance being of the lawyer provided by her government. She knew too well that that lawyer is not there to protect her right but to pressure the court and the whole of Yemeni society for her to be return to Saudi Arabia.

Nonetheless, she wholeheartedly accepted the representation given by a Yemeni non-governmental organization known as Hood.

I concur with her lawyer, Abdel Rakib al-Qadi that:

“This is a humanitarian case, and must not raise tensions between the two countries…”

On November 25th, the Huffington Post in an article, “Huda Al-Niran, Saudi Woman, Receives UN Protection In Yemen After Eloping With Boyfriend” reported that:

Forbidden love, elopement, prison and a worldwide appeal for asylum. It has all the makings of a grand and epic romance…

“The conflict extends beyond al-Niran’s own family, though, and is complicated by greater tensions between the two countries. From land disputes, to power plays, to conflicting loyalties, the neighboring nations have had a long and fraught relationship.

“According to AFP, Yemen has come under pressure by Saudi officials to deport al-Niran, but the U.N. has stepped in to grant her protection while she applies for refugee status. U.N. officials expressed optimism that the young woman would succeed in getting asylum, which would leave her free to marry her Yemeni lover.

“Like any great love story, al-Niran’s is one that speaks for more than just the feelings between two people. The couple has won wide support in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia. During a recent court appearance, sympathizers gathered outside the building wearing headbands that read “We are all Huda.””

I would also like to thank those UN officials who came out strongly, stepped up and granted her protection while her application for refugee status is pending.

That protection extended and given by the UN will definitely make it hard for Sanaa to deport Huda back to Saudi Arabia and it is also, in my view an implied endorsement of their support to bolster her claim on her petition for asylum.

That said woman, Huda Abdullah Al Niran, who were dubbed by the press as “Saudi Juliet” has shown once again to the universe the unstoppable and undeniable power of love. That love, true love will defy all odds, will crossed all borders and will not cease from following the commands of one’s heart — to the point of standing up against the whole world and even death would not be enough to stop its march.

To quote those immortal lines uttered by Hawkeye played stirringly by Daniel-Day Lewis from the classic film, “The Last of the Mohicans”:

“You be strong, you survive… You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”

In the end, love is all that matters and love conquers all…

I wish this two loving couple, this latest version of the world’s Romeo and Juliet all the best in the world and may they be always happy for the rest of their days.

As Bette Midler sung it in a song, “The Rose”

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live.

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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