Monday, May 12, 2008

Why?...Because its the law!

My youngest daughter does not have a passport at the ripe old age of 14. Previously she was on her fathers passport as a baby but when he had his renewed...she was old enough to have her own. Up until now I never had need to make her one but now the need has arrived and what I thought was going to be a fairly straight forward transaction has instead tuned into headache of brain squeezing proportions.

It would seem that her father is the only one allowed by law to make one for her...why? you might I did several times...well, apprently nobody knows exactly why...they just know its the law. Now why would there be a law...or even a need for a which the father of a child is the only one that can make a passport for that child? What if there is no father...he died or walked off the face of the earth? Or maybe even abducted by aliens...then what? The child doesnt get a passport? Does the legal authority to make a passport for that child now fall on the shoulders of any uncles or brothers that child may have? How exactly does this work I want to know?

But really, my main concern...the one that is buzzing around my head like an angry bee trying to find its way, why isnt the mother of a child legally allowed to make a passport for her child? What exactly is the point of being the mother of a child if you have no legal rights to do anything on behalf of your child? I find this absurd and extremely gender biased law a slap in the face of mothers of Bahraini children everywhere...Im surprised they dont protest and get pissed off about it like I am. What are they if not a legal guardian of their child until he or she reaches maturity...and as a legal guardian you have the right to do anything that is needed or required for your child. Does the presence of a father automatically negate the parental rights and legal authority of a mother over her children? Must she sit meekly by while all legal authority of her child is taken from her and given to someone else...possibly someone that doesnt deserve nor should have legal authority over that child?

My personal stake in this is that my childs father(such as he is) is no longer in the picture of our family. He has given up parental rights by force...not choice....when he decided his daughters were sexual playthings to use in whatever fashion excited him most. So, believe me when I clearly state that I want nothing to do with him nor do I want anything from him....and yet according to the law in Bahrain I must pick up the phone and call that animal and ask him to make a passport for his daughter...because even though he is scum and has no right to even be free walking the streets...he has more authority in the eyes of the law than I do over my child when it comes to making legal documents. Could someone explain this conundrum to me cause it just aint fitting into my head all proper and sensible like?

Now what should I do...or any mother for that matter...that had a less then happy separation and divorce from her husband...the result being much animosity and whispered prayers of a fire inspired punishment on the Day of Judgement for that "father" that treated his child/children in such a heinous manner...when I approach him and am forced to ask him for "a favour" such as making a passport for "our" daughter...what should I do if he just laughs in my face and tells me to forget it? What recourse do I have in this situation...will the Ministry of Passports see past the redtape and let me apply on her behalf anyway...or will they insist I make nice with dear daddy and get him to agree to do it for her? Do they even consider for a moment the hardships they inflict on women/mothers in this country by making such gender biased laws that officially give all rights to men/fathers...and almost no rights to women/mothers?

And what I really want to know is...why the hell arent Bahraini mothers or mothers of Bahraini children up in arms about this? Protesting outside some Ministry or another...taking time out on Fridays to go hold up a sign and chant slogans about reducing the role of mothers to housemaids and sexual slaves to husbands with no rights over their own children? It would seem Bahrain is not that much different to Saudi in a lot of respects...and with the antics of these Court of MP's....I fear we will be even more like Saudi before too long...and I wonder if Bahrainis themselves will sit quietly by while that happens...silence means acceptance. If you accept your rights being taken away...then you have no "right" to complain about it later...right? solution is easy really....bypass the idiotic laws of this patriarchal govt that views women as mere child bearers with no authority over those children...and skip on down to the US Embassy and make her an American passport...a passport that will have more value for her in the future...than the Bahraini passport that is currently being handed out to every foreigner that steps foot on these sands...but not to Bahraini children themselves...if they dont have a father to sign on the dotted line...sigh!


Yacoub said...

It's sucks but the only reason that I think that this is the case is because your daughter has to carry her father's name thus the father must confirm the fact that she is his daughter and can carry his name.

Fatemeh said...

This is an important issue that ties into family law, which has been entrenched in patriarchy.

Susie of Arabia said...

Certainly there must be exceptions to this stupid rule - especially in view of the fact that the father was abusive to his own child in such a despicable way. This whole situation you are in is absurd. If the government of Bahrain doesn't see this - wow! Unbelievable!