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‘Dead’ Yemen woman feted as she comes home alive from Saudi Arabia

Fearing humiliation, disgrace, son claims mother was buried in Makkah

  • Staff Report
  • Published: 13:10 March 27, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: A “dead” Yemeni woman was feted with great fanfare in her village after she came home alive following an absence of eight months in Saudi Arabia.

Hasna Abdullah Al Fakeeh, 82, was believed to have died after her son who had accompanied her on an Umrah trip to the sacred city of Makkah returned home alone.

Moeen Ali said that despite spending weeks looking for his mother, he could not find her, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Wednesday.

However, he was too ashamed to admit the facts and concocted a story about his mother's death to avoid family embarrassment and village dishonour.

“When I returned home, I told my sisters that our mother had died and that she was buried in Makkah,” Mueen said. “I could not tell them the truth because it would have been a scandal and a humiliation to come home without my mother alive. I did not want to become the laughing stock of the village. I had to pretend that she had died and that, as is customary in such conditions, she was buried. I thought that if she did die because of her old age, she would be buried in the holy city, anyway.”

Mueen said that he was shown the body of a woman at a morgue in Makkah, but he was almost certain she was not his mother.

The family accepted condolences on the death of the mother in Ramadan after her son returned home.

According to the report, Hasna was deep in coma at King Faisal Hospital’s intensive care unit after she was struck in an accident.

When she woke up eight months later, the frightened woman pleaded for help from the hospital staff, but could provide them only with the names of her dead husband and her village in Yemen.

A hospital employee who heard her case pledged to help and he used both names to inquire among the Yemeni community about the woman’s family.

Salah Al Gamdi, who works at the patients’ rights and relations division, eventually met a Yemeni mechanic who told him he knew both the husband and the village and assisted by obtaining a local number and calling Hasna’s family.

Her son and a village leader arrived in Makkah and accompanied Hasna on her flight home where her elated family celebrated her return.

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