As Zeyne Muhsin refuses to be interviewed by YT: TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT [Archives:2000/07/Reportage]

February 14 2000

Part 3

Yemen Times has called Zeyne home in Birmingham to decide on the meeting time that her mother Miriam had indicated in a response to the request by Yemen Times in order to make an interview.
In the first call, Zeyne denied that she had any idea that there would be an interview, and said that she thought it was a meeting only. Then she requested me to give her time and call her the other day for confirmation.
The other day I called her again as planned, but there was no one answering the phone. The answering machine was on, but I decided to try several other times until I could reach her. After the fifth trial, I decided to call her the next day. In the morning of the next day, I called her again, but this time, not even an answering machine answered the call. I didn’t lose hope as I thought that Zeyne was expecting a call from me. Hence, I rang her again, twice, three, four, and five times.
The six time however, a lady answered the phone.
“Is this Zeyne? This is Walid Al-Saqqaf from Yemen Times, as you know I have called you and you asked me to wait for a confirmation on the date and time I will meet?”However, interestingly, even though her voice was quite similar to Zeyne’s, it was not her who answered the phone. It was her sister who said, “Sorry, but Zeyne is not there. May I help you?” I was quite disappointed as she had left no notice at all about the interview which we have been planning for more than a month. Then I explained to her that I am expecting a confirmation plus her contact information and time and date when we will meet. I also left my contact hotel’s phone number and my hotel room, and asked her to leave a message at the reception if I am not there as the matter is of top urgency. She said she would deliver all the information as soon as she is there.
I waited for the whole evening for any reply to my call, but there was nothing. At sunset, I had to go for an important appointment and told the reception when leaving the keys that I expect a message.
Late at night, I came back to the hotel around 11:00 pm and looked for any messages at the reception, and was surprised to find out that there was nothing. So as soon as I arrived to the room, I called her at home, I expected to not find her, as I thought that she has not arrived to home yet and that as soon as she comes she would call me.
I then apologized to her because of the late call, and asked her why she didn’t call back in response to my letter. However unexpectedly she replied in an angry solid voice, “Don’t you see it is a late hour to call?” 

I then apologized for the second time and explained to her the urgency of the circumstances as I left a message but she did not respond, hence I had to call her again as I will not be able to contact her the next morning as I expected that she will not be at home, and the whole cycle would be repeated again. I also indicated to her that I would have to leave to Birmingham, the city where she lives the next day because of the schedule that I had to go by. Then the conversation went like this:
“Ms. Zeyne, I am Walid Al-Saqqaf the Chief Editor of Yemen Times, who spoke to you the other day and whom you requested to call you the next day for the confirmation regarding the interview. I am sorry for calling late as I had to make an appointment with you as soon as possible.”
“What appointment? I am busy and I cannot meet you.”
“But I received a message saying that you and your mother could meet me.”
“We are busy. We will be going to London tomorrow for TV recording.”
“But I have come all the way to Britain mainly for the purpose of interviewing you, and now you simply say you are busy?”
“I said we are busy. You are short of time and we cannot meet as we are leaving to London. I am sorry.”
“But this interview is of great importance, and based on your approval, we notified our readers that we will be publishing a third part including the interview with you two. We can also meet in London once you go. We can arrange a suitable time for both of us.”
“I don’t have time I said. I am sorry, I have to go now.”
“But you know that based on your message we have given in last issue, a statement to our readers that we will bring them your viewpoint in an interview next week. Remember that our newspaper is directed to the Yemeni people and your opinion will help enlighten the public of the true story of Nadia Muhsin.”
“I don’t care about that. I told you that I have to go.”
“But wait this will also help Nadia herself, you should bring your version of the story to have a complete report, that would justify Nadia’s position and be helpful for her story to be introduced a neutral way.”
“It does not matter for me and it does not matter for Nadia any more. You newspapers want to sell our papers….” Then Zeyne hangs the phone.
I was shocked with disbelief that Zeyne has treated us in this way. We have not ever been treated in such a disrespectful and irresponsible attitude. At least she should have appreciated our travel to Britain for this story, and our aim at giving her the chance to speak for herself.
I later thought about it thoroughly. We are not aiming at investing in this story and making it a huge issue. Hence, we are not offering money for the interview. Can this be the reason she refused to the interview? Is it money?
Even if I don’t know the answer to that question, I know that she has been working a lot on promoting her new book, entitled “A Promise to Nadia.” The story of Nadia seems to outdated, especially when mentioning that she is suffering from a lot of miseries and is not living an acceptable life. Who would believe that after the last interview of last week? It is not possible to imagine that a sister could take advantage of her sister’s private life and make money out of it. Is this what she got from her stay in the UK? Did she learn that money is more important than morals and family links? Exposing her sister’s story did not benefit Nadia, it did not benefit her family our children. It only benefited the publishing company she printed the book at, the media organs that promoted her book, and most important of all, Zeyne herself.
There were two books released before about Nadia, “Without Mercy”, and “Sold” both of which Nadia’s mother and sister were the writers. It seems that this book selling business has become of great pleasure and profit that they decided to do it again.
However, this time I think that they have chosen the wrong time. It is the time when Nadia Muhsin herself had denied what came in the book. It might be the end for such a greedy phenomenon which disrespects the person the book is built upon.
For Yemen Times, not having the interview did not make any difference. But it is truly a pity to know how Zeyne preferred harming her sister’s future by running from one place and another to promote her book over helping the Yemeni public know her story from her.
For you, our readers, we still could confidently tell you that the story of Nadia Muhsin has been brought to you honestly, and without any modification. We actually are also happy that we understood the true aim of Zeyne in making a bug fuss about Nadia’s story in this particular time. It is up to our readers to evaluate the situation and see who’s right and who’s wrong.