Not Without My Daughter — again
posted at 4:52 pm on April 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
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.