A touching story from reality:Family Reunion after 50 years in Isolation [Archives:2004/713/Community]

February 19 2004
The Minister of Expatriates Affairs, Abdu Ali Kubati, in a meeting with the three brothers and journalists, paid thanks to those people who made the reunion possible.
The Minister of Expatriates Affairs, Abdu Ali Kubati, in a meeting with the three brothers and journalists, paid thanks to those people who made the reunion possible.
Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Some might think it is an imaginary story. But it is very real. Come with me and I will narrate to you the story of a family that was living in isolation for over 50 years. The reunion took place only last week.

Mr. Attick al-Selwi from Taiz left Yemen for Britain in 1933. He left from Aden and joined the British Navy. He married a woman there and had a bay named Ali. After three years, Attick left his family behind and moved to another place where he married another woman. She gave birth to another male baby named Ali too. But after some years, they were divorced. The younger Ali moved with his mother to live in Liverpool and used to visit his father every summer vacation. When he reached the age of ten, the younger Ali went to see his father at the Navy.
Unfortunately, he did not find him. He was told his father had left and nobody knows his whereabouts. Ali, the elder, was told by his mother that he had a brother, and the same story was told to Ali, the younger, by his mother.
The elder Ali started to look for his brother who believed that his elder brother might have left for Yemen. The elder Ali used to go and ask at the Yemeni community about the al-Selwi family but met with no success.
When he went three years ago to renew one of his documents at the Yemeni community office, Mohammed al-Sayyad, head of the community, told him that he has got good news for him this time and that somebody from Ibb told him he knew someone in Liverpool called Ali al-Selwi.
He went there immediately and met someone from Rada'a, al-Baida governorate who guided him to the shop of the wife of Ali al-Selwi. Unfortunately, neither his brother nor his wife were there, but were attending a funeral. He found their son taking care of the flower shop. He asked him several questions and told him that he was his uncle. When the younger Ali was late, he left and gave his phone number to his nephew.
When the elder Ali, who is now retired, was about to go to bed the same day, the phone ran and it was the voice of his brother which he had not heard for over 50 years. They started to weep when they narrated this episode. They met the other day and made sure of their family connection through the information they have about their father, including his photos, and thought they should start tracing their roots in Yemen.

Tracing roots in Yemen
The elder Ali (55 years old) is now an oil engineering expert, a quality insurance inspector as well as a member of Cambridge Welding institute. He took the initiative to assist the people of Muslim community, mainly Yemenis. Once he had a student form Yemen called Walid. While chatting and talking about Yemen and their families, he told him he knew somebody called Fuad al-Selwi. The younger Ali met Fuad and gave all the details of his father. Fuad came to Yemen before last Ramadhan; he started looking for the Attick al-Selwi family in Taiz. He found that there is another son of Attick called Aref. Aref (40 years old) had been searching for his brothers since 1988. As his father died when he was still one and a half years old, his mother told him that he had two brothers in Britain and that she thought one was called Ali. Aref looked into his father's documents and tried to send letters to the addresses in Britain that were with his father. But no way. He also sought the help of the British embassy in 1994 but they asked him for information that he did not have. He did not stop and tried with the help of his friend Mohammed Bajash Ismail, who was also missing some of his relatives in Britain. When Ismail knew that Fuad was looking for the family of Attick, he informed Aref and went with him to meet Fuad, who realized after scrutinizing the documents he was given that this was what the guys in Britain are looking for. He called the younger Ali in London and told him that he found his brother in Yemen. When he was back in Britain, he spoke to the two Alis about their brother in Yemen. They phoned Aref and his mother and asked for characteristic features of Attick. They then made sure they found their family in Yemen. They arrived in Yemen this week. “I was lifted when I arrived at Sana'a airport and met my brother. You do not know what this means to us. We have suffered a lot before this reunion has taken place,” the younger Ali said with happiness and joy. He said he is very happy to be in his homeland with his brothers, adding that he would be very happy to extend some of his experience in oil engineering to Yemen.