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…twenty months of litigation to settle your divorce.
…twenty months of litigation to ensure you receive court ordered sole custody, legal and physical, of your two young boys.
…being a father and having won custody of your sons in a system and society that often favours the mother, often regardless of the situation or suitability.
…receiving a phone call on the day you go to collect your children from their mother’s house, the voice on the other end of the line being a male speaking English with an accent, threatening you that you’ll never see your children again if you report them missing.
This nightmarish scenario, the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a Hollywood “blockbuster” film, is the real-life horror story of American father Colin Bower.
As part of the court order, their mother (
Mirvat el Nady) had “limited and restricted visitation” with her children, preventing her from driving with her children and also taking them outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However on the day that Colin came to collect his boys from her house, they were gone.
He received a phone call from a man that spoke in English but had an accent. The phone call was a threat; that Colin would have “no future contact” with his children if he contacted authorities. When he wasn’t given any more information regarding their condition or whereabouts, Colin hung up and called the police.
Being Proactive Is The Only Way To Get Results
If Colin had taken the unknown man’s threats at face value and just “rolled over” and not reported his sons’ kidnapping, he may never have found out where they were, whether they were still alive and safe and would not have been able to begin receiving the support of people from around the world.
Colin created a Facebook page that detailed the situation and spread it among his family and friends online, at a loss as to how he could get word out and get help.
With the help of his colleagues
Justin Levy, Chris Brogan and more, word did indeed begin to spread around the world and the web. (At the time of writing—16 th Feb 2011—the Facebook page has just shy of 9000 “likes”, though in this situation I’m calling them “supporters”)
His story was also covered by local and national mainstream media, being featured several times on The Today Show (USA), NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC and local stations WGBH and the Boston Globe. He’s been interviewed on radio and other bloggers have picked up and spread his story to their readers.
The most amazing thing to me, however, is the fact that Colin has been to Egypt at least
twelve times since this all began after his suspicions that his ex-wife had taken the children there were confirmed.
Fighting For His Sons
Colin has received the support of his local community and has also taken this all the way to the top in securing the support of US Senator John Kerry and the State Department who are working to bring his boys home.
His ex-wife, however, is not only facing a US federal warrant for her arrest on kidnapping charges, she’s also got an outstanding Interpol red notice hanging over her head. Clearly, she wasn’t thinking of her children’s welfare when she took them out of America against the court orders.
Sadly, however, she entered into a protective arrangement with the (then) Hosni Mubarak regime and travelled around Egypt under guard by a bunch of State Security personnel. Despite the fact that she provided false information to the Egyptian courts and ignored an Egyptian court order granting Colin visitation rights, she has not been punished or held accountable.
You see, Mubarak was not a signatory on the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, leaving Egypt completely open for Mirvat el Nady to bring her children and effectively “disappear”.
Out With The Old…
The recent protests in Egypt that resulted in the displacement of dictator Husni Mubarak shows the power of social media, the internet and the “global voice” that we’re developing.
Twitter went absolutely berserk when the protests began and the people continued a constant stream of chatter under the hash tags
#Jan25, #Egypt, #Mubarak, etc. This chatter involved people from all over the world and the conversation moved so fast that the auto-updating column in my TweetDeck application was quite literally a blur of updates, just a constant stream of tweets flying by faster than I could read.
This helped fuel global media coverage and has given hope to people in media, in society and online. It has especially given hope to other Arabic nations in the Middle East and has given promise that such exposure is available for the likes of Yemen, Iran, Libya, etc.
This should also help inspire hope in Colin and his friends and family – word about his kidnapped sons can be spread like this,
should be spread like this, until the Egyptian authorities cease hiding Colin’s ex-wife and hold her responsible for the illegal acts she has committed in multiple countries.
A Call To Arms…So To Speak
It is up to us, the people of the web, of the world, to take up our arms (keyboards and mice, not actual munitions) and help Colin bring his children home.
I cannot remember where I read it, but in going through all the information online about this case I saw somewhere that Colin’s boys “shied away from him” and that Colin is under the belief that they may be the victims of “brainwashing”.
This absolutely breaks my heart, that parents can do things like this to their children because of their own selfish needs and fears. As a child, my parents divorced and my mother and (now) former step-father both used to put down my father in front of my brother and I, so I know how hard it can be to cling to the love and respect you have for a parent when the other just won’t stop saying how bad they are.
It almost breaks my heart as much as this attitude: “
Children need to be with their mothers. She did the right thing.” It’s this type of ridiculously uninformed, ignorant, intolerant and sexist bullshit that leads to this sort of thing happening without people knowing or caring about the truth of a situation.
I realise that women and mothers can become irrational when it comes to their children, however for others (strangers!) to blindly defend a woman who contravenes the law of two countries, kidnaps her children and takes them
out of the country and prevents them from seeing their father (as is the right of both father and child), well forgive me for saying so, but that’s just fucking crazy.
We need to think rationally, seriously and like intelligent adults and support the return of the two children to America and their father. They’re supposed to be with him
under law, they’re American citizens that are being held overseas (presumably) against their will and they’re overseas under false identities. They must be brought home.
How You Can Help
1. Go to this Facebook Page and click “Like”
2. Leave a comment on the wall to show Colin your support.
3. Write about this anywhere you feel it will be best seen and spread: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, your blog, etc. (Include the tag “noorramsay” to ensure folks can find it)
4. If you do tweet about it, use the hash tag: #noorramsay
5. Follow Colin on Twitter and show him your support: @colinmbower
6. Contact the Egyptian Embassy in Washington to plead for their support: email@example.com
7. Contact US Senator John Kerry to thank and encourage him for his support: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Donate (if you’re able) to Colin’s legal defense fund here: http://funds.gofundme.com/ifo4
9. Read, share on Facebook and/or ReTweet these articles by Colin’s good friends and colleagues:
And please share this article by me also -
You can find out further background information by viewing the “
Info” page and watch some of the interviews that Colin has given on the “ Media” page on the Facebook page.
Hague Convention on Child Abduction
Mirvat el Nady
The Today Show
US Senator John Kerry