Atif’s Story

The man in the above picture is listed on my birth certificate as my father. His name is Atef Al-Dinari. He is from Jeddah. The photo was taken when he was here in San Diego as a student in the late seventies, early eighties. My name is Atif, I was named after this man upon birth.

I’m telling my story because I want to give a realistic view of what happens when a Saudi student’s ignorant actions directly affect a child’s life.

My mother first met Atef at a function and from what she says, at first, she wasn’t interested in him at all, but, like many of these stories, he kept pursuing her (a common theme with these Saudi students). She eventually decided to give it a chance.

My mom has told me many things and details over the years about what happened while they were together. Many ridiculous people out there with no sense like to question the validity of the mothers claims about these relationships or to just label them whores, but that is far from the truth. The relationship between my mother and Atef lasted a long time.

The warning signs began when my mom heard through mutual acquaintances that Atef was seeing other women, one woman in particular who my mom found out he repeatedly visited even after he left back to Saudi. My mom eventually discovered she was pregnant and, as you can guess, the situation didn’t end well. He told her he couldn’t be with her and did something next that only a moron would do….

He invited her over one day and said he needed to talk. He played a VHS videotape for her and my mom says she was confused because she didn’t know what she was watching. It looked like a wedding party. Then my mother saw a woman in a dress and Atef told her this was his wife. This had occurred during one of his trips back to Saudi. It was an arranged marriage, of course, with one of his cousins. This shocked my mother because she said that during their relationship he would say things to her like how he could see himself marrying her. He told her this is why he couldn’t be with her and even told her he didn’t want this for himself but his family was pressuring him. He told her he couldn’t have anything more to do with her or the pregnancy and ended the relationship. 

His Saudi friends whom my mother had previously been on good terms with, also turned on her and blamed her for everything and there were threats made. They told her to have an abortion. Funny how these “religious” men suddenly turn pro-choice when it has to do with their own selfish motives.

When the time came for questions about who the father was and potential DNA testing, Atef disappeared. My mom heard things about him going back to Saudi and coming back to San Diego secretly to finish his studies.

My mom tells me she initially wanted to give me a different name. She had planned on naming me Gabriel, but the only reason why she decided to name me after this ghost was on the behest of one of Atef’s cousins, my uncle Fahd. Fahd was the only person who sympathized with what my mother was going through and told my mother that Atef’s actions were horrible. He told my mom that she should name me after my father, because that’s how its done, so she did. He even visited my mother and held me as a newborn. (Advice to expectant mothers out there who are in this same situation: Despite what everyone or even your own beliefs tell you..please don’t name your child after these men. You’re doing your child no favors. My name, as beautiful as it is, represents something that is hurtful. I’m named after someone who deserted my mother and essentially left us for dead. If you insist on giving your child an arabic name, pick something else.)

I can tell you that, in no short of words, life has been mostly challenging. Not having a father around for my childhood, adolescence or adulthood was hell. My mom was mistreated by society and even her own family members when I was a kid because she was a single parent, alone, and I grew up watching this. Not having a stable, parental figure to teach me things or be there for me as a safety net was the definition of awfulness. 

I had the opportunity, when I first discovered Saudi Children Left Behind about 7 years ago, to make contact with some members of my alleged Saudi family. They had seen the story I posted and, for the first time, there was a part of me that thought I was actually going to finally be able to have the answers I had been seeking my whole life. Relatives I’ve never met who didn’t know about me would finally know I existed!

Things went well, at first, as they usually do. A DNA test was supposed to be done, and everything was moving along smoothly. But, in typical fashion, the warning signs returned. I started getting bad attitude from the family member I was communicating with, like the flip of a switch, he went from being pleasant to a complete jerk. I also started hearing that my dad was saying not so nice things. He claimed he couldn’t remember anything and accused my mom of false character traits. The final straw was when they cut off their cell phones and discontinued all contact with me. 

It had been done to my mom, then, now, to me. Lucky for me, we live in the age of the internet. Plus, they didn’t know who they were messing with. 

What happened to me is what happens to alot of others, women and children alike. But, let’s be clear. This did not define me. I am an intelligent individual and, as downright crappy as much of life has been, that has no bearing on who I am as a person. This is something not to be forgotten.

I want to take the opportunity to give a special shout out to Jenniffer, my friend and creator of Saudi Children for giving me and so many others a voice and an opportunity to share our stories. Thanks Jen, you rock!

لقصة : الرجل في الصورة أعلاه مدرج في شهادة ميلادي كأبي. اسمه عاطف الديناري. إنه من جدة. تم التقاط الصورة عندما كان هنا في سان دييغو كطالب في أواخر السبعينيات ، أوائل الثمانينيات. اسمي عاطف ، وقد سميت على اسم ابي عند الولادة. أنا أحكي قصتي لأنني أريد أن أقدم نظرة واقعية لما يحدث عندما تؤثر تصرفات الطالب السعودي الجاهل بشكل مباشر على حياة الطفل. قابلت والدتي عاطف لأول مرة في وظيفة ، في البداية ، لم تكن مهتمة به على الإطلاق ، ولكن ، مثل العديد من هذه القصص ، استمر في متابعتها (موضوع مشترك مع هؤلاء الطلاب السعوديين). قررت في نهاية المطاف أن تعطيها فرصة. أخبرتني أمي الكثير من الأشياء والتفاصيل على مر السنين حول ما حدث أثناء وجودهما معًا. كثير من الناس الاغبياء هناك الذين ليس لديهم عقول يرغبون في التشكيك في صحة ادعاءات الأمهات حول هذه العلاقات أو مجرد تصنيفها انها علاقه مع عاهرات ، ولكن هذا بعيد عن الحقيقة. استمرت العلاقة بين أمي وعاطف لفترة طويلة. بدأت علامات التحذير عندما سمعت أمي من خلال بعض المعارف أن عاطف كان يقابل نساء أخريات ، وهي امرأة على وجه الخصوص اكتشفتها أمي أنه زارها مرارًا وتكرارًا حتى بعد أن عاد إلى السعودية. اكتشفت أمي في النهاية أنها حامل ، وكما يمكنك أن تتخيل ، لم ينتهي الوضع بشكل جيد. أخبرها أنه لا يستطيع أن يكون معها وفعل شيئًا بعد ذلك يفعله معتوه فقط … دعاها على مدى يوم واحد وقال إنه بحاجة للتحدث. قام بتشغيل شريط فيديو لها وتقول أمي أنها كانت مشوشة لأنها لم تكن تعرف ما كانت تشاهده. بدا وكأنه حفل زفاف. ثم رأت أمي امرأة ترتدي ثياباً ، وأخبرها عاطف أن هذه هي زوجته. حدث ذلك خلال إحدى رحلاته إلى السعودية. كان زواجًا مرتبًا ، بالطبع ، مع أحد أقاربه. صدم هذا والدتي لأنها قالت أنه خلال علاقتهما كان سيقول لها أشياء مثل كيف يمكن أن يرى نفسه يتزوجها. أخبرها هذا هو السبب في أنه لا يستطيع أن يكون معها وحتى أخبرها أنه لا يريد هذا لنفسه ولكن عائلته كانت تضغط عليه. أخبرها أنه لا يمكن أن يكون لها أي علاقة بها أو بالحمل وأنهى العلاقة. أصدقاؤه السعوديون الذين كانت والدتي تربطهم علاقة جيدة معهم ، انقلبوا عليها أيضًا وألقوا باللوم عليها في كل شيء وكانت هناك تهديدات. قالوا لها أن تجهض. من المضحك أن هؤلاء الرجال “المتدينين” يتحولون فجأة إلى اشخاص لايريدون الخير لاحد عندما يتعلق الأمر بدوافعهم الأنانية. عندما حان وقت الأسئلة حول من هو الأب واختبار الحمض النووي المحتمل ، اختفى عاطف. سمعت أمي أشياء عن عودته إلى السعودية والعودة إلى سان دييغو سراً لإنهاء دراسته. أخبرتني أمي أنها أرادت في البداية إعطائي اسمًا مختلفًا. لقد خططت لتسميتي غابرييل ، ولكن السبب الوحيد الذي جعلها تسميني عاطف كان بناء على طلب من أحد أبناء عمومة عاطف عمي فهد . فهد هو الشخص الوحيد الذي تعاطف مع ما تمر به والدتي وأخبر والدتي أن أفعال عاطف كانت مروعة. قال لأمي أنها يجب أن تسميني باسم والدي ، لأن هذا ما فعلته ، لذلك فعلت. حتى أنه زار والدتي واحتجزني وأنا مولود جديد. (نصيحة للأمهات الحوامل في نفس الوضع: على الرغم مما يقوله الجميع أو حتى معتقداتك الخاصة .. من فضلك لا تذكر اسم طفلك بعد هؤلاء الرجال. أنت لا تقدم لطفلك أي خدمة. اسمي ، مثل جميل ، يمثل شيئًا مؤلمًا. لقد سميت على اسم شخص هجر والدتي وتركنا نعاني إذا كنت تصر على إعطاء طفلك اسمًا عربيًا ، فاختر اسم اخر.) لقد أتيحت لي الفرصة ، عندما اكتشفت أول أطفال سعوديين تركوا وراءهم منذ حوالي 7 سنوات ، للاتصال ببعض أفراد عائلتي السعودية المزعومة. لقد رأوا القصة التي نشرتها ، وللمرة الأولى ، لقد كنت اعتقد اني سأتمكن في النهاية من الحصول على الإجابات التي كنت أبحث عنها طوال حياتي. الأقارب الذين لم ألتق بهم أبدًا والذين لم يعرفوا عني يعرفون أخيراً أنني موجود! سارت الأمور على ما يرام في البداية ، كما تفعل عادة. كان من المفترض إجراء اختبار الحمض النووي ، وكان كل شيء يتحرك بسلاسة. ولكن ، بطريقة نموذجية ، عادت علامات التحذير. بدأت أتلقى سلوكًا سيئًا من أحد أفراد الأسرة الذي كنت أتواصل معه ، حيث تحول من كونه لطيفًا إلى نكد تمامًا. بدأت أسمع أيضًا أن والدي كان يقول أشياء غير لطيفة. ادعى أنه لا يستطيع تذكر أي شيء واتهم أمي بسمات شخصية كاذبة. القشة الأخيرة كانت عندما قطعوا هواتفهم المحمولة وأوقفوا كل اتصال معي. لقد تم ذلك لأمي ، الآن ، بالنسبة لي. محظوظ بالنسبة لي ، نحن نعيش في عصر الإنترنت. بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، لم يعرفوا مع من كانوا يعبثون. ما حدث لي هو ما يحدث للكثير من النساء والأطفال على حد سواء. لكن ، لنكن واضحين. هذا لم يحددني. أنا فرد ذكي ، وبقدر ما هو مرعب تمامًا مثل معظم الحياة ، ليس له أي تأثير على من أنا كشخص. هذا شيء لا يجب نسيانه. أريد أن أغتنم هذه الفرصة لأعطي صرخة خاصة لجنيفر ، صديقي ومبتكر الأطفال السعوديين لمنحي فرصه ولغيرهم من الاشخاص صوتًا وفرصة لمشاركة قصصنا. شكرا جين .

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8 thoughts on “Atif’s Story

  1. sarahshareiah

    God bless you

  2. Jared Al-Jasser Morrison

    I can completely relate my friend. My story is nearly the same.

  3. Same story as my mother and sister, who’s father is Kuwaiti, raised me for the years they were together, his brother knew, his friends knew but he left when my sister was 2. That was back in the late 70’s early 80’s. I should have listened instead of repeating the same mistake with my Qatari ex and father of my daughter but love got the best of me.

    Before the Kuwaiti my mom was engaged to a Saudi but ended the relationship after she caught him with her best friend. In Pensacola there were a lot of Gulf pilot students there in the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately no matter how many stories are posted on our websites women still have babies thinking they will get married and sadly they end up sharing their stories with us.

    • Atif

      I’m sorry you went through that. They’re world class liars, even the family member I mention in the post who I was communicating with was his son, my half-brother acted like this. He actually sent his son here to San Diego to study also. We met in person and, at first, he was very nice. We talked for hours, laughing like kids, sharing stories of our families. Then as time went on, I noticed his behavior changing for the worse. Then he turned his phone off and I know he was instructed to do so. It was such a blatant middle finger to me, I was very surprised by it, especially since his son seemed very westernized and understanding with the situation. I was wrong. The son’s name is Khalifa, by the way, in case anyone’s wondering

  4. Anna

    Omg I’m sorry but what an asshole!! Who just leaves their kid like that?? The dads on here ought to be ashamed of themselves. Do you have other family members from Saudi that have tried to reach out to you? Brothers or sisters? Aunts? Uncles? Or are they acting like this idiot too?? I’m sorry for the harsh words but people like this don’t deserve to breathe the same air on this planet. Hope u find what you’re looking for!

  5. I am a Saudi girl
    Never bother with a man who is ashamed of himself
    but, the least right for you to take the Saudi nationality besides your current nationality The Saudi nationality provides facilities in various matters of life in a way that you can take your rights as a Saudi man and these rights are for you and your children later. I don’t know if you know it or not, but as an example of the facilities your father and your brother and Other Saudis, the government enrolls them in the university they want for free, and pays them money to live prosperously while studying

  6. kld

    I know this man and his family he to work at Saudia Airlines for many years For shame what he has done. If you want help contact and I give information to help you

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