A refugee father who was born again
Hegyeshalom, Hungary “Every month we had to go to Baghdad to get my son’s eyes treated. When we went for his last appointment, the hospital was very crowded so we decided to go back to the HOTELand wait. We walked out into the street and waited for a taxi. A car pulled up and stopped. We thought it was the police. Two men with guns jumped out and asked for our ID cards, then they pushed us into the car. After a few hundred meters, my wife and I were tossed into the street. But they kept my son.”
“After they took our son, my wife was so weak that she couldn’t get out of bed. For days I walked around Baghdad like a crazy man. I could not sleep. I walked from early in the morning to late at night. I thought maybe I’d recognize the car if I saw it again. Every day I picked a new neighborhood. I kept my phone in my hand hoping that someone would call. Every few seconds I’d check the screen. Soon I lost hope. I was sure that I’d lost my son.
Then after one week an envelope came to the house with a phone number inside. I called the number and a man told me that he had my son. He said he wanted a large amount of money. He said if I called the police, my son would die. It took me twenty days to get the money together. I sold the house. I borrowed money from relatives. Days would pass between phone calls. I kept begging for more time. They kept changing SIM cards so I couldn’t call back. When I finally got the money, I told them I was ready to meet, but I demanded to speak to my son. I told them: ‘Please, I need to hear his voice. I need to hear his voice.’ Then suddenly I heard my son’s voice on the phone. He sounded very scared. He said: ‘Dad?’ Then the phone was disconnected.”
“They told me to meet them at a certain address with the money. It was an old abandoned house. They told me to wait for a silver car to come, and to throw the money inside. After a few minutes a car came. I threw the money inside and it drove off. Soon another car pulled up, the door opened, and my son was thrown out. I didn’t believe it was my son. It was like I was born again. I picked him up and I started running and I didn’t stop until I reached a place full of people. Both of us cried as I ran.”
Story by Humans of New York