Declare your Love by Naji Al Khaldi, Yemen

I remember the summer of 2001, 
‎‏Me and my younger brothers and sisters were very happy to move to the new house in Sanaa city, but we were also sad to see our father who would never go back to the country where he worked and where he was from.

Hours before my father departure when we were packing his bags, we saw breaking news on television: a group of terrorists targeted the towers of the World Trade Center in the USA, at that moment my father said: The world will change from this moment! I did not understand what he meant.

For ten years since 2001 my father left us and we only saw him 3 times during this period.  My father worked in the GCC States for more than 30 years until it was time to get a residence permit for my family to travel and join him forever. But in the spring of 2011, the  Arab spring revolution was launched.


Of course, during these 10 years, I met many friends in Sana’a city and one of these friends named Muhammed, was one of my best friends. We made so many amazing memories together, we grew up together spending every single day together. But when the revolution began in Yemen in February 2011,  Muhammad and I started arguing because I supported the revolutionaries while he supported the regime. We continued to argue for several days, until we ended up not talking to each other and the argument continued until the day of my departure.

As the man of the house I took the tasks of selling furniture, repairing & selling the house and finish all procedures until the time came to hand the keys and leave forever.

In the last minutes, I was alone at home but the house was empty as a new one. Yes, I was excited to travel and start a new life but at that moment I felt so bad and I realized what I had done, I began to inspect every room and every corner and remember all the beautiful and bad moments I went through, I remember all the moments of my childhood until I became a man, when I entered my room which is considered as my little universe, I found it completely empty ! And at this moment I started crying like a child. I felt a strong desire to stay and not to leave!

In the evening I went to the street to say goodbye to all my friends and neighbours, I did not realize the love of people in my neighbourhood except in that moment when I saw the tears of my friends, And away standing someone watching the scene. I couldn’t recognize him at first. And when I focused a little bit I realized that it was my friend, Mohammed, at that moment we both had a wild desire to hug each other but we had to stop ourselves as I had to run to attend a reception.
During that night we went to the airport and passed near The Freedom Square where the revolutionaries were demonstrating, I prayed for them and I asked God to save & stand with them, then I left the country.

After one and half year of alienation, I decided to return to visit my country and I was preparing to return in a secret way to surprise my best friend Muhammad.
Every passing day made me miss him even more but the political situation was so tense and the situation does not encourage to return. So I kept postponing my decision. One day as I was browsing Facebook I saw that someone posted the picture of my friend Muhammad with the phrase: “We are so sad for him, Muhammad passed away.” I froze for two minutes. After that I took my phone and my hands were shaking and I called his brother to make sure of that news , I was repeating: ” God, please, this is not real , please this is not real !!” But it was true.
I ended the call with Muhammad’s brother and started screaming; “My God just give me one day to meet him because we still did not say goodbye to each other, give me one day because we never gave each other that hug !”
It was the greatest regret of my life.

Declare your love before it’s too late.

*This picture was taken in Old Sanaa City, by our friend. It carries a lot of memories and details for me because we would love to go to this place together.

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