I currently have a house full of teenage boys staying for a few days. These are friends my family have grown up with and everyone has remained great pals since they were all toddlers.
I was talking with them earlier and realized that all of these boys (except the one in the red shorts) has a Bahraini father and a foreign mother. The mothers range far and wide in the countries they hail from....USA, Ireland, Finland, Columbia plus the girls (some sisters to these and others) that use to hang out in my house when my daughters were here have mothers that come from such places as Philippines, Peru, England and Canada.
We are a mixed bunch with different lives and different backgrounds all up to one point in time...the point in which we all came to Bahrain newly married to our Bahraini husbands. (ok some were married before they came here but you get the point).
Everyone of of these children (mine included as well as the girls not shown) come from torn families and abusive fathers. All of them. Not one of these children has a father that is not abusive to either them or their mother (some very abusive), or a father that was either secretly married already or secretly married at some point in his marriage to their mother. These fathers have cheated on their wives, abused them, held them hostage in marriages the women did not want to be in but could not get out of due to child custody and divorce laws. These fathers have made these children miserable and unable to trust for the most part...except their own mothers and each other.
There is something else I find interesting, if not sad, when it comes to these children...and so many others like them that have Arab fathers. While the marriage is still legal the father will rant and rave at his wife that these are HIS children. They will remain his children and no law or govt will change that. He will keep her tied up and bound by her love for her children and most of the time he is well aware that she will not leave without them...and uses that to his advantage. His children are HIS children...end of story. Heres the funny thing though, for those few women that actually manage to gain custody of their children and obtain a divorce....suddenly the very same fathers that fought back so ardently....the same father that laid claim to HIS children and vowed they would never know another father or life without him etc...are suddenly nowhere to be found..so much so that now the mothers have to fight in courts to get even the smallest amount of child support for these same children HE couldnt or wouldnt give up before the divorce...such hypocrisy...such dismal failures as men...as husbands...as fathers.
They have all been virtually abandoned by these same fathers that made their lives a living hell by abusing their mothers...sometimes them as well and demanded the marriage stay intact if the mother wanted to remain with her children...these very same fathers quickly jumped ship when custody was given to the mother and now most of them cant be found or make rare appearances...either to create more drama in the household or apparently overcome with the urge to play Daddy for a moment.
People tell me I generalize Bahraini men too much...that not ALL of them are abusive and controlling and use their children to keep reluctant wives hostage. Well, from my personal experience and from the lives I see around me I cant help but assume that...I can only form opinions of the men I come into contact with and so far...most of the Bahraini men I personally know are incredibly bad examples put forth for the Bahraini nationality as a whole.
Of course not all Bahraini men are like that...thank God all of them are not like that...I do know a couple that have wonderful qualities and are admirable fathers and husbands...unfortunately none of those men are the fathers of any of these children.
Most of the mothers I know that have previously been married are adamant they will never marry again...at least that is how they feel after coming out of a battle that took much of their lives (in years) and occasionally blood was shed, bones were broken. Hearts are not easily mended and trust is a hard commodity to hand out when it has been crushed so thoroughly by one entrusted with it. These mothers might very well stay single for the remainder of their lives...which means these children will likely never know a true father figure they can learn from. A father figure that will teach them that NOT all Bahraini men are like the ones they suffered from. Step fathers in this society are hardly ever given the chance to become father figures....generally speaking the children already have fathers, such as they are, so step fathers as almost an unknown concept here.
I personally cannot imagine myself marrying again simply because my entire life has been subject to the whims of abusive controlling men...needless to say Im somewhat hesitant and extremely wary of coming up unlucky for a third time in my life...better to remain single and focus on my children having a better quality of life then they previously enjoyed. Most of the mothers I have known have had similar thoughts.
My children have no men in their lives for the most part. Brothers of my best friend occasionally make an appearance as well as one of her cousins of whom I wrote a post about before as being one of the BEST Muslim men I have ever known hands down. He is a wonderful caring man...but he has his family, his children. Even though he helps us a great deal...he has a busy life and doesnt spend more than a passing moment with us as he's coming and going...there is also the one man who reached out a generous and caring hand for my daughter of who I mentioned in a previous post as well. Both of those men are exemplary and the women in their lives are definitely lucky to have found them.
As much as I shy away from the idea of a man in MY life....I do wish they had one in theirs. A man that would show my boys what it means to be a real man. A man that would show them how to treat women with respect and honor...and man that would show them how to love and protect without letting jealousy and suspicion rule their lives. I wish there was a man in my daughters lives that would teach them that men are not only for abusing and controlling. That men are not only for criticism and judgement...for name calling and slandering. I wish there was a man in their lives to teach them that men are essentially good...they were just very unlucky in the drama that is life.
Thats one of the reasons I dont care much for segregation because due to segregation in this country my daughters cant just "hang out" with a man they arent related to. There really is no way to allow them to learn that not all men are like what they are use to. In their futures the only men they will be able to learn from will be their potential future husbands...and possibly father in laws...maybe brother in laws...but in this country even that might not give them what they need as far as a true father figure of leadership...and of course by the time they are married to these men...chances are they might realize then that they once again fell into the hands of a less then honorable man.
I know this all sounds confusing and scattered but I really didnt give this post much thought from the time I had all the kids together for the pic and sat at the laptop to write it. I just felt the need to get something down. I may revise it in even after I hit publish.
So much pain in the minds of the children in that pic...as well as the ones not shown. Makes you sad to know that it didnt have to be like that.