“You want me to travel to the US?”
Zaid sat in the chair with his mouth open in surprise processing what had been said. His friend smiled in recognition this would have been the last thing Zaid expected and waited patiently for Zaid’s response.
“I’d welcome the opportunity sir though this being my first trip to the West I’m naturally nervous.”
“All part of your development Zaid, I recognize you have huge potential so rubbing shoulders with the melting pot of cultures the U S provides will certainly make you more valuable for the future. But our administration would expect a comprehensive report from you as to what you may see as a potential link up between our department here and Houston University Department of Computer Sciences. We’d also expect recommendations on what improvements to our own programs could be gained from your study of their curriculum and research. Remember you are under contract here because of the university investment in your PhD studies so you have obligations to us for another three years. Keep that in mind as you meet up with Galisha and talk over your possible future together.”
Zaid nodded happily. “Thank you, sir. I’ll not let you down and you can expect a very comprehensive report to be presented on my return. When is the student exchange to take place and what must be done about visa to enter the US for this purpose?”
“At the end of the second semester and it will give us time to arrange for your US visa. We will need to get Vanderbilt help with this so there’s no hold up with the visa. The US seems to be very careful issuing visas to passport holders from our part of the world but there’ll be no problem with Vanderbilt influence on their immigration department as it has worked smoothly in the past.”
Zaid’s parents were becoming more aggressive in their demands for their son to return to Cairo and he understood what was going on behind the scenes. Probably there’d already been commitments made though none of that information had been shared with him. His parents would be furious if they knew what his plans were so he didn’t share with them his intended trip to the US as that would raise more questions in their mind.
Then unexpectedly one day he emerged from teaching a class and found his father and uncle waiting in his office. Zaid greeted them with respect. Without hesitation his father launched into the reason for the visit. The family had arranged a suitable marriage for him, and it was important to settle on a date when he could return to Cairo for the ceremony. They produced a picture of the intended bride and placed it on the table in front of Zaid watching him carefully for a reaction. She was very pretty, well educated, and from a socially connected family. They were also keen for him to finalize his tenure with the University of Jordon as a position had been arranged with Cairo University. When would he be able to do that?
Zaid sighed. This was the confrontation he’d dreaded though knew would eventually have to be faced. He sat silently studying the photo in front of him for a few minutes then faced his father and uncle waiting for his response.
“This university has a lot of money invested in me father and a written contract exists requiring a five-year term of service for that investment. There are still three years to run on that contract, so I’ll be remaining here at least for that time. So, you must inform Cairo University I respectfully decline their kind invitation. As for marriage I appreciate the work you did in finding such a beautiful potential wife for me, but I will have to say no to that too. I’m not ready to enter a marriage arrangement yet and when I’m ready I’ll choose who I marry for myself thank you. However, I appreciate the family concern and will keep you informed when I’m ready to make that commitment.”
Father and Uncle looked at each other in surprise. It was unprecedented a son would refuse the wishes of his father no matter his age or position. Uncle rose from his chair in indignation and came around to where Zaid was sitting. He slapped Zaid hard on the cheek.
“Be respectful to your father! He is the head of our extended family.”
The sound of that slap was loud enough to cause Zaid’s secretary to get up from her desk and look in. She saw a man attacking her boss and called security. Two guards appeared as father and uncle were dragging Zaid out of the office and they challenged them.
Father spoke. “This is my son and I’m taking him with me.”
The head security held up his hand to stop them and addressed Zaid who was now bleeding from nose and mouth. “Are you willing to go with these men sir?”
Zaid shook his head. “Please escort these men off campus I’d like to have your protection please.”
“Shall we turn them over to the police and will you be making a police report sir?”
“No just see I’m protected as I go to and from the first aid center and escort them from the campus, please. These are my relatives, so I don’t wish to embarrass them by making a police report.”
That evening he contacted his mentor the head of the department. He reported what had happened but was not surprised to know the encounter between he and his relatives had spread like wildfire and his mentor already knew.
“Sir my relatives have influence in government and as I’m travelling on an Egyptian passport I wonder if they’d be vindictive enough to have the government cancel my passport. How will that affect my stay here in Jordon and how will it affect my visit to the US?”
His mentor responded sympathetically.
“We have a heavy investment in you Zaid so would do everything possible to keep you here should that happen. I suppose you were dreading this encounter but now it’s happened and I’m so sorry for you. The general feeling among faculty who’ve come to know of this encounter is sympathy and support for you so that should be comforting for you to know. Let me think about your predicament.”
Early next morning Zaid prepared himself for the day in classes. He was having difficulty moving because of bruises to his upper body and his nose and mouth were sore from the beating too. The phone rang and Zaid picked it up and was surprised to hear his mentor’s voice. After customary greetings the conversation commenced.
“I have contacts in the Council of Ministers so inquired if it were possible to get you Jordanian citizenship and a passport. They investigated you and told me you’ve been here for several years and are a contributor to the needs of Jordanian society and if strong recommendation comes from the University President it could be considered. Usually, it would take some time but if you feel free to make an application for citizenship we could proceed, and it would be hurried up. The University President is comfortable writing a recommendation. What do you want me to do? Consider in your answer you’d be expected to continue to contribute to our society when you talk with Galisha.”
“I think it would be very unwise of me to consider going back to Egypt now as my father and uncle would feel humiliated being escorted off our campus and told not to come back. They are very influential in Cairo. I’d appreciate being a citizen of Jordon now and getting protection that way if it’s at all possible.”
“OK, I’ll work on this under direction of the President.”
That evening when Zaid had a chance to open his personal messages there was one from Galisha. Her family had been visited by strangers who were obviously not citizens of the US. They’d been looking for her unaware she had her own apartment. Their message was ominous. Galisha should stop communicating with Zaid or her family safety could not be guaranteed. She wanted to know what was going on and how these people had been provided with her family address.
Zaid sent a lengthy message reporting on the visit from his father and how it had ended after he was attacked, followed by security escorting father and uncle off campus. Family members were obviously working through contacts in the US but how did they know there’d been a relationship between Galisha and Zaid, and it was ongoing despite the Haddad’s migrating to the US. He had no idea how they’d known of the Haddad address.
Galisha responded that as much as she loved him, she couldn’t tolerate her family safety being threatened like this. Why had he put her in this situation? Perhaps for the sake of maintaining his own relationship with his family and the safety of her own they should discontinue communications and end the relationship.
Zaid was devastated. He assured her that her name had never been raised with his family and he had no idea how they’d come to know about their long-standing relationship. They must have contacts on campus he was not aware of. He pled with her not to cut off communication and told her he was in the process of applying for Jordanian citizenship and would never return to Egypt as he now feared for his own independence and perhaps life.
She responded she’d have to think about it as her family safety came first so she’d not be responding to his messages until the situation clarified and she was assured no harm would come to her family because of their relationship.
Zaid had little sleep after receiving that message and going dejectedly to bed. He found it difficult to cope with classes next day reminded of his family visit by bruises now becoming more noticeable to him but covered up by clothing as carefully as possible. His secretary who was normally talkative remained silent, but her face revealed sympathy at what had happened in his office humiliating him publicly. Zaid was considered one of the excellent teachers and a rising star in the university and she felt it an honor to be assigned as his secretary.
To be continued.
© Copyright 2022 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved
8 thoughts on “Family in Crisis – Chapter 2”
Wow, things just got real intense! I can’t wait to see what’s next 🙂
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More trouble on the horizon Damyanti 🙂
I liked Zaid’s bravery towards his father and uncle, but I wonder if a happy ending is in the making. Something tells me this story may head in the opposite direction. But I’m enjoying it even though I’m late to the party. 🙂
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More twists and turns ahead before we reach the end Lauren 🙂
Wow, Zaid sure got brave, but now the war is on. Looking forward to what happens next.
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More twists and turns to go in the following chapters Mags
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I don’t think I like where this is heading! But im hooked!
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More surprises ahead Barb 🙂