This memoir starts from The Flight From Casablanca. Thank you.
Before going to Morocco in 1997, my ATM card expired and I was sent a new one. I took both to Morocco.
At the time of my departure flight back to Jeddah, Omar tried to win some money — now that he had lost my friendship.
I used to pay him Dh200 per day beside bearing all expenses. On top of that, I had given him a Yashica camera and some other gifts plus Dh3000 for his hospitality and honest service in 1996.
But he interpreted my generosity as foolishness. He kept saying bad things about Monia and Immouzzer and thought of forcing me to marry his poor sister, Khadija.
It’s written that if someone slaps you on your right cheek, also offer him your left cheek.
People misunderstand this commandment and most simply consider it a foolish advice. It’s neither a foolish advice to be ignored nor to be implemented by men.
It’s just good news freeing us from worrying about our safety.. Letting Jesus take care of that.
Or as one blogger aptly put it, “Christianity is not about rolling over and taking it.”
I had indeed let Omar play his tricks on me but it doesn’t mean that he owned me. That’s why my Lord arranged for our breakup.
Omar crossed his limits but still had greed in Dh3000 as if he had served me with any honesty.
He thought he was smart and I was a fool.
He arranged a free taxi to drop me at the airport and I accepted that cunning taxi driver and their perfect trap.
On our way to the airport, he shamelessly asked me Dh3000 gift of “good, honest service”. I took out the expired card and punched the pin code.
The ATM machine confiscated the card and referred me to the bank manager. We went in.
The manager looked at my passport, opened the machine and returned the expired card to me but he failed to understand what was wrong with the card.
He must also have doubted the cunning taxi driver and the over-zealous Omar.
I promised Omar to check with my bank to see what was wrong with that damn card and went to Jeddah never to come back to him.
And why should I?
What good he had done to make me remember him?
I arrived Jeddah airport in the wee hours of Thursday, July 3, 1997.
In the above referenced post, you can read about getting caught red-handed trying to smuggle pornography into the holy lands of Saudi Arabia.
I first refused their generous offer of letting me go in case I honestly told them what was in them.
It’s not that they were curious to know. It was about giving up my right to know and the Freedom of Expression of the porn stars.
All I had to do was acknowledge their right to look inside people’s stuff and tell them what they could see & hear. To accept man-made laws, Jesus be damned.
I insisted they were computer data reels and there was nothing wrong in them.
They kindly informed me about their media office that had the capability to put the reels back in VHS cases and look inside their contents.
I still firmly insisted they could not find a sin against me — their media office and their holy king be damned.
After some two hours, a nice officer from the media office came to ask me whether I was under the influence of drugs.
They called me into the media office and showed me a clip of naked women playing & enjoying themselves.
“Do you acknowledge that this is the stuff you were hiding?” They asked.
“Yes I do,” was my careless answer.
They filled some forms and charged me a fine of 3000 Rials, confiscated my passport and referred me to the customs office on Saturday as Thursday & Friday used to be the weekend.
The customs office sent me to the legal office. There, I met another nice judge.
He told me about Dr. Muhammad Abdo Yamani, the ex-Petroleum Minister who used to work for my employer, Dallah Group, and handle their charity work.
He gave me a full week to bring a letter from Dr. Yamani to close the case then & there.
I knew about Dr. Yamani and had personally helped some poor employees write applications to Dr. Yamani.
But the voice of enigma asked me to ignore that good advice and I obeyed, without fully understanding His plans.
Instead of one week, I went after two full weeks on July 19, 1997.
The nice judge, seeing no letter from Dr. Yamani despite 2 full weeks, advised me to visit APS (Airport Police Station), where he had already forwarded my file.