Friday, August 15, 2014

FREEDOM AIR



There once was a young Egyptian man named Hussein. A very kind and gentle man, a true non-violent Muslim who lives the Quran for Allah. He could not find work in his own country to support his family so he paid for a job in Saudi Arabia in the Kafala program, where he works long hard hours paid as a driver but doing the accounting of several men for his sponsor.

He found me on yahoo awhile back and asked if I could help him learn better English so that he could improve his work conditions. Since his intentions were honorable, I gladly took him on as a student.  In exchange, Hussein taught me about Islam, his beloved Egypt and the peaceful way of life.

We have been close for over 4 years now. I have watched him work until he is so weary he cannot even fall asleep for the 3 or 4 hours allowed to him. I’ve seen him almost die more than once in sickness from mosquito bites, and fight the mice in the humble worker dwellings in the sand.  I’ve watched him through the depression of not being allowed to go home to visit his family for 3 long years. And I have been touched by his desire for freedom.

Listen to his words. Do you feel them with your heart? I cannot even imagine living like this, yet he does it year after year with amazing patience, always gentle and helpful to everyone. 

"Sometimes wish to feel and remember that iam human. iam not animal to only work and eat and sleep but only these i know like animal;
and the animal is better than me, can make intimate with the other and i can't.

Wish live good life, not high standard life but wish do my best in my work and find the good reward to satisfy my needs and my family needs. iam not lazy but wish mix my life with work and enjoying my time.

Wish breathing Freedom air."
 My name is Kay Lee, with no middle initial.

"Kay" means rejoice, and "Lee" means "Shelter fom the storm". so Kaylee means "Rejoice for the shelter from the storm". 

For Hussein I pray to be his shelter from the storm. I would like to bring him to America and watch him create a good life for himself and his family. I know, after all he's been through, that he would celebrate and appreciate freedom more than most of us born into it.

If there are any out there who know enough about immigration laws toguide me in this endeavor, please contact me at kaylee.usa@charter.net  
I would give anything to find someone who could and would help improve Hussein’s life. Insha Allah there is such a person.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

SLAVERY THRIVES



Saudi Arabia has a work sponsorship program you don't know about. Millions of migrants from other countries have had to buy jobs there because their own country's economies have been destroyed by leaders. It is no small thing: The numbers are estimated up to 80% of Saudia's work force. They have become slaves who can't go home at will, who can't change jobs, who are overworked, underpaid and blatantly mistreated.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2013/11/should-saudi-arabia-end-kafala-system-20131149730444689.html 

Some employers in this program see themselves as slave-owners. They keep their worker's visa, denying them the right to return home. Beatings, rapes, and other forms of brutality are inflicted on many workers.  If an employer choses not to pay earned money, workers have no recourse. A worker who doesn't show up at the job can be turned in as a runaway and jailed. Young men get desperate, try to swim to freedom and drown. Others commit suicide from harsh conditions and homesickness.

 http://www.migrant-rights.org/campaign/end-the-kafala-system/

Female workers have been brutalized and killed for 'disobedience".  Men have been beheaded for supposedly looking at an employer's wife. What may have started as a noble effort to pair workers with employers has become a vile and unjust system of slavery.

http://sce-me.blogspot.com/2012/03/kafala-system-opportunity-for-employers.html 

Not all employers in the system are corrupt. But there are enough bad ones to discredit the entire program. Human Rights Watch workers have tackled this situation with few results and backlash from employers have forced most activists in Saudia to go underground.

"The kafala system is responsible for a lot of ills going on ... and is going to be on its way out .... The majority of Saudis are totally against such type of behaviour, but there are people in our society who have misused the kafala system." ~ Al Jazeera

America is not immune to bad leadership. Look at the size of our prison population. Look at the growing number of people without jobs or homes. If we don't pay attention, one day we, too, might be yearning to breathe Freedom's Air.