Green Room

Not Without My Daughter — again

posted at 4:52 pm on April 5, 2013 by

After the Iranian revolution in 1979, a number of Iranians went back to live in the new Islamic Republic.  When American and other Western spouses found the nation too hostile and restrictive, they sometimes had difficulty leaving, especially when they had children.  Betty Mahmoody found that out the hard way, and had to sneak out of the country with her child, a courageous and successful effort that eventually was told in the Sally Field film Not Without My Daughter in 1991, with Alfred Molina playing her husband to malevolent perfection.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported the story of an American woman whose daughter was kidnapped by her ex-husband and taken to Iran — and who had to work with the FBI in getting her daughter back.  It’s every bit as gripping as the story of Mahmoody, with perhaps even more cloak and dagger:

The mother’s ordeal began shortly after her 6-year-old girl boarded a flight bound for what was supposed to be a six-week trip with her father to his homeland of Iran. But the father refused to return, and weeks soon stretched into agonizing months.

At first, there were excuses about visas and paperwork, then the father abandoned all pretense, saying simply he had no plans to return. It was not long before the calls turned menacing, with the father demanding cash in exchange for granting Homaune time on the phone with her daughter while threatening to sell the girl on the black market or to send her home “in a box.”

Feeling defeated and helpless, with her daughter 6,400 miles away from their home, Homaune turned to the only authorities who could help: the FBI. What happened next is the stuff of which Hollywood thrillers are made. Homaune’s story, as revealed in lengthy interviews with her, her relatives and an FBI agent, and as described in her journal entries and court filings, provides a detailed portrait of a mother’s determination to retrieve the one thing she cherished most.

More than that, the saga provides a window into the emotionally fraught and complex journeys endured by the hundreds of American parents whose children each year are abducted and taken overseas by a foreign parent. Such abductions can last for weeks, or years. Each parent handles the turmoil differently. And while some become paralyzed by the fear of never seeing their boy or girl again, others, like Homaune, take matters into their own hands.

It isn’t just America’s enemies that protect parents who kidnap their children in violation of custody orders, either.  In September 2010, I wrote about Randy Collins’ efforts to get his son Keisuke back from Japan, which routinely refuses to honor US custody orders.  Randy’s still waiting for his reunion with his daughter.

Update: Randy’s child is his son, not daughter. My apologies.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Wow, that is one strong and amazing woman there. So glad there was a happy ending.

NerwenAldarion on April 5, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Gee, her shotgun marriage to an Iranian living in Canada that she met online didn’t work out. Who saw THAT coming?

Rational Thought on April 5, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Lay down with dogs, get up all halaled.

BL@KBIRD on April 5, 2013 at 5:29 PM

I wrote about Randy Collins’ efforts to get his daughter Keisuke back from Japan, which routinely refuses to honor US custody orders. Randy’s still waiting for his reunion with his daughter.

Son, Ed. That’s a boy’s name if I ever heard one.

mintycrys on April 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Not Without my Daughter was a good flick…as is the movie Osama about a widowed Afghan mother and her daughter who tries to pass as a boy so “he” can work, and about life under the Taliban…it’s unreal what a parent has to go through in these instances.

JetBoy on April 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Gee, her shotgun marriage to an Iranian living in Canada that she met online didn’t work out. Who saw THAT coming?

Rational Thought on April 5, 2013 at 5:22 PM

“He seemed so nice.”

arnold ziffel on April 5, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Son, Ed. That’s a boy’s name if I ever heard one.

mintycrys on April 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM

I was wondering about that. I’ve only ever seen Keisuke as a boy’s name.

Count to 10 on April 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Gee… a father’s love… threaten to sell your own child or send her home in a “box”. Honor… yeah, that’s the ticket…

I have a friend who married a Japanese woman while he was stationed in Japan. He eventually got transferred stateside and they began having children.

I’m closer friends with his brother who said his s-i-l never seemed to have any desire to assimilate, knew very little English, was always stand-offish… and apparently, frequently talked of wanting to return home to Japan.

I can understand being homesick, but to be sure, there was a lot of concern among us for several years that she might try and stay in Japan with the child, leaving my friend helpless.

Logus on April 6, 2013 at 1:04 AM

“One night, after too much wine, Homaune became pregnant.”

Wow, I never knew wine could get you pregnant!

lilacs on April 6, 2013 at 5:35 AM

If the woman whose daughter was kidnapped and taken to Iran had just spent 30 minutes or an hour browsing through the Koran, she wouldn’t have married a Muslim in the first place.

Hermeticus on April 6, 2013 at 6:55 AM

There was a woman from Calif. whose husband took her daughters to Saudi Arabia and wouldn’t return. So many people tried to help her and all she did is lash out at everyone — never taking responsibility for her own bonehead decisions. This was post 9/11 and all she did was blame Booooosh!

Blake on April 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Lay down with dogs, get up all halaled.

BL@KBIRD on April 5, 2013 at 5:29 PM

What a pathetic, idiotic, racist, creepy thing to write.

There are millions of wonderful people in Iran & from Iran.

I’m tempted to say that you are the only “dog” in this thread, but I have hope for you, that you’ll regret the stupid thing you wrote.

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The “Not without my daughter” was a more compelling story, because of the natural course of their romance, persfectly normal – then the radical reversion of the husband. He was westernized, living in the modern world – but became fixated on revolutionary purity as his salvation, a politicized reversion to old ways.

That wife did nothing bone-headed, few could have seen his alteration coming. She had no idea how hostile Islam was to the idea of women as free individuals.

SarahW on April 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Nah, Blackbird is right. You take your chances when you marry and have children with someone from another country. And you have to be nuts to do so with someone from a crazy Islamic hellhole like Iran.

Blake on April 6, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Nah, Blackbird is right. You take your chances when you marry and have children with someone from another country. And you have to be nuts to do so with someone from a crazy Islamic hellhole like Iran.

Blake on April 6, 2013 at 11:08 AM

1) AckMyDumbJihad lost the last election. He stayed in power by cheating.

2) There are many thousands of Christians in Iran.

3) There are millions of Muslims in Iran who are pro-US & pro-Western.

I married a woman from a nation with millions of Muslims that has suffered from a long string of corrupt regimes, as well as much terrorism & many kidnappings.
I would have had to be nuts not to do so, because she’s the Best Wife In The Universe.

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

(For a good clue where she’s from, click on my username)

:)

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

From your link I gather your wife is a Christian and a Filipino. There’s a world of difference between the threat to you as a Christian male parent marrying a Christian Filipino woman and the threat to an non-muslim American woman marrying a muslim man from Iran. I’m sure your wife is wonderful (though I’d have to say she’s at best tied for Best Wife in the Universe ;-) but her “status” with her government relative to you should she ever take your children there is hardly the same as a muslim man in Iran keeping his children away from his “worthless heathen Great-Satan-born wife”. Iran would look at every comparative element there and laugh at the American mother’s demands to return her child. And the Philipines, in spite of having millions of muslims, has a higher percentage of Christians than the US. It’s hardly the Medieval caliphate that Iran’s leaders aspire to create.

I understand your instinct to dispute Blackbird’s statement, but I think he has a point. If I were an American woman I would never have been in that relationship in the first place. If I was in it and had children I’d make sure they never got a passport and I’d never authorize a trip abroad with dad. The US is good enough until they’re 18 thank you very much.

SoRight on April 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

SoRight on April 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

You didn’t address these points:

1) AckMyDumbJihad lost the last election. He stayed in power by cheating.

2) There are many thousands of Christians in Iran.

3) There are millions of Muslims in Iran who are pro-US & pro-Western.

Yes, obviously there are differences between the Philippines & Iran. But using Blake’s & Blackbird’s logic, I made a miserable mistake marrying a woman from such a troubled nation, when in fact I didn’t.

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 1:41 PM

If I was in it and had children I’d make sure they never got a passport and I’d never authorize a trip abroad with dad. The US is good enough until they’re 18 thank you very much.

SoRight on April 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

My son thoroughly enjoyed his trip to Manila (when he was 10). He was treated like a rock star. :)

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

It’s wonderful you have such a positive story to tell, but as your moniker recognizes, your story may not be representative. We have a wonderful friend who married a woman from Japan while he was in the Navy, and she divorced him and kept their child, whom he has not seen in 16 years because he has no power to do so. Responding to the points you wanted SoRight to address:

1. Perhaps, but he is still in power, which means the government will not be sympathetic to this woman’s plight.

2. Christians are vastly outnumbered by Muslims in Iran, and in any event, it’s reasonable to think this woman knew she was getting involved with a Muslim.

3. I hope so, but there is a sizable number who are openly anti-Western, and who knows how many who are on the fence or can be converted away from pro-Western views? The father in “Not Without My Daughter” was Westernized, but upon returning to Iran, became an Islamist.

Blackbird and Blake are recognizing something that too many women fail to do: Choosing to have children with someone links you for a lifetime to them, and they have rights to their children, too, so it’s a big mistake to fail to examine something so fundamental as belief in Islam, or considering another nation “home,” when making that choice.

DrMagnolias on April 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Blackbird and Blake are recognizing something that too many women fail to do: Choosing to have children with someone links you for a lifetime to them, and they have rights to their children, too, so it’s a big mistake to fail to examine something so fundamental as belief in Islam, or considering another nation “home,” when making that choice.

DrMagnolias on April 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM

I’ll knock it down even more basic – have a general discussion about children. So many people do not do this.

Or even more basic – have a lot of discussions about general things to see if there’s a scary, game ending incompatibility lurking.

Most people don’t do this and get caught up in the romance or need.

Of course people from two different cultures are going to have problems. They’re not insurmountable, but most people don’t even bother to address it, never mind plan for it, beforehand.

kim roy on April 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I thought the “get up all halaled” would be specific enough. I’ve known three woman personally who were involved with Muslims. Two for “love” and one for plain citizenship. The one who refused the marriage for citizenship had to go into hiding until Mohammed left town for another love. The two for “love” went to Morocco and Algeria respectively and had to escape eventually.

I’m not sure how you could have connected your situation to my comment on getting involved with Muslims at this date and age of the planet.

BL@KBIRD on April 6, 2013 at 5:14 PM

DrMagnolias on April 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM

BL@KBIRD on April 6, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Again, you guys are assuming all Muslims are terrorists.

That’s just like their misconception of Christians: “Madonna wears a crucifix & she acts like a whore, so Christian women are whores.”

The vast majority of Muslims would make very good neighbors for you & me. They are not “dogs.”

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM

misconception of Christians

This or a version of it has been reported from various Muslim cultures. But while they misunderstand us, the vast majority of them don’t want to kill us. The many Americans I know who’ve visited Muslim nations have all been treated very graciously by almost everyone.

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM

It isn’t the Muslims, it is the Islam they are slaves to. Muslims are the primary victims of Islam. And no, they do not make good neighbors. Call me what ever you want to. It is meaningless drivel in the face of hard truth. Perhaps you are totally innocent of Islams nature. Ignorance of Islam will get you killed.

BL@KBIRD on April 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM

That’s rather silly, as no one in the universe believes all Muslims are terrorists. There are those who follow the Koran, and those who do not–it is those who follow it who are worrisome.

DrMagnolias on April 6, 2013 at 10:21 PM

It isn’t just America’s enemies that protect parents who kidnap their children in violation of custody orders, either. In September 2010, I wrote about Randy Collins’ efforts to get his daughter Keisuke back from Japan, which routinely refuses to honor US custody orders. Randy’s still waiting for his reunion with his daughter.

Maybe Randy should have been smarter about marrying a citizen from the most racist culture to ever exist.

Just sayin’.

BobMbx on April 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Maybe Randy should have been smarter about marrying a citizen from the most racist culture to ever exist.

Just sayin’.

BobMbx on April 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Hmmm – I don’t recall their history including 200 years of institutionalized slavery – but considering you refer to yourself as a VirginiaPatriot it is easy to understand how you ignore the sins of your forefathers…. just sayin

Bradky on April 7, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Muslims are animals.

pat on April 7, 2013 at 3:25 PM

But their recent history is that of murdering over 10,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, and more. No shock that you would ignore it so you could get in a cheap shot at BobMbx…just sayin, you jacka$$.

Blake on April 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Hmmm – I don’t recall their history including 200 years of institutionalized slavery – but considering you refer to yourself as a VirginiaPatriot it is easy to understand how you ignore the sins of your forefathers…. just sayin

Bradky on April 7, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Slavery was a gift from the Brits that took about 80 years to fully excise as an institution, mostly as a result of the Virginia constitution which was a considerable source for the current Constitution. Please note that Britain has never owned up to slavery, always taking the high road in condemning it, nor has any other country on the planet that practiced it. Including Japan.

BobMbx on April 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

BobMbx on April 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

So are you saying Virginians were too stupid to realize what slavery was?

Bradky on April 7, 2013 at 8:26 PM