• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.

The Terror of Suzi Hazahza

Tasting the food that Suzi Hazahza cooked for him on that first Thursday in November, Reza Barkhordari couldn’t have been more joyful. He went to Suzi’s house every night after work, to sit with her whole family. And each night, the wedding drew a day closer.

“We met at a local Middle Eastern coffee shop in Richardson, Texas called the Al-Afrah,” recalls Reza over the telephone. “That’s where I saw her for the first time, and it was instant connection. It was so strong that Suzi’s mother noticed and helped in connecting the two of us. Shortly after that Suzi and I both realized it was something that was meant to be, and we would be spending our whole lives together. That was on August 6, 2005.”

“I proposed to her on August 6, 2006, our first anniversary. My mother encouraged me to do it, and she sent a diamond ring to Suzi. We were to be married over the Christmas holidays.”

In preparation for the wedding, Reza invited the Hazahza family to move closer to his home in Plano, where it would be easier to keep everyone in daily contact. On the first Monday in November, they were to close on a home in Frisco. What American dream could have seemed more complete?

The first Friday of November, however, found Reza driving to the Dallas offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in search of the love of his life. Suzi and her entire family had been rounded up at gunpoint.

There was father Radi, a 60-year-old refugee from Palestine–a proud provider who had seen better days as a banker in Jordan–now working as a state-certified car inspector. And mother Juma, the one who had steered her daughter toward love, and who shared Suzi’s delicate preferences for freshly-cooked food.

There was sister Mirvat, a 24-year-old newlywed who still lived at home because the religious rites for her marriage had not been completed. She had graduated with honors from North Lake Community College and was running the office of a local insurance agent.

There was brother Hisham, a 23-year-old sales whiz and prized manager for a cell phone company who was moving rapidly from management into ownership, on the verge of opening his own store. And there were younger brothers Ahmad and Mohammad, ages 17 and 11.

Like two other Palestinian families in Dallas, all of them had been rousted from bed at gunpoint and marched out the door in their bedclothes. They were locked away, Reza was told. He could not see Suzi on Friday.

On Saturday, Reza drove again to Dallas ICE, hoping to see Suzi and her family. But no, that was impossible. Then on Sunday ICE gave Reza a little hope. Suzi had been moved to the Rolling Plains Detention Center in Haskell, Texas along with her two oldest brothers, her sister, and her father. Visiting hours lasted until 4:00 pm. If Reza could get there before 4:00, said ICE, then he could see Suzi.

Reza headed West in his car, calling a friend on his cell phone to get directions as he drove into afternoon sun. It was already past noon, and he had a four-hour drive in front of him. If he went just a little bit faster, he could make it in time, and he did, pulling into the immigration jail at 3:45 pm. But it would take ten minutes to get Suzi, explained the guards. And despite Reza’s begging, they told him the visit would not be worth the trouble. Dejected, Reza drove back home.

For the next five weekends Reza planned his visits to Haskell carefully. He drove from Dallas on Friday night and visited with the Hazahza men on Saturday. Then on Sunday he met his beloved Suzi.

One week he recalls Suzi came to the meeting with a fever and cough. She explained that she tried to get medical help but without luck. So Reza made some phone calls and complained. When Suzi’s younger brother reported blood in his urine, Reza called about that, too.

After making complaints to ICE, Reza completed his fifth week of visits. He had no way of knowing that after the fifth visit, things for Suzi would suddenly get worse. She called from Haskell begging her fiancé never to come see her again.

After the fifth visit from Reza, Suzi Hazahza had been subjected to a full body-cavity search.

To this day, Suzi Hazahza refuses all visitors. She will not see the love of her life, Reza. She will not see her mother Juma, recently released from the T. Don Hutto jail in Taylor, Texas. Nor will she see her baby brother Mohammad who was released with Juma. She will not risk another visitor because she is determined to never again let the guards at Haskell prison search her like that again.

New York attorneys Joshua Bardavid and Ted Cox will return to Texas next week to file federal habeas corpus motions in behalf of Suzi Hazahza and her family. The motions they filed for the Ibrahim family in early February worked very well, proving that ICE had no good reason for taking them to jail. Not only were all the Ibrahims freed from Hutto and Haskell both, but Juma and Mohammad Hazahza were also freed from Hutto, two days before a press tour there.

In the coming weeks, as a protest movement grows around the issue of children in prison, let us not forget that 20-year-old Suzi has been wrongfully imprisoned, too. To quit the terror of Suzi Hazahza, she and the rest of her family deserve to be immediately freed.

What is it like for Reza to think about Suzi these days? He takes a call from her every night. Last night he put her on the line with Juma and Mohammad in order to continue this interview.

“You have to understand, this is not your standard strip search,” explains Reza. “What they do makes her extremely uncomfortable.” And how did that chilling phone call from Suzi make him feel, when the love of his life begged him to visit no more? “I felt like I was on fire,” he says. “There’s so much pain. Just to be honest with you, I am literally sick to my stomach.”

And with each night’s phone call from Haskell to Dallas, the marriage of Reza and Suzi, the meant-to-be lovers, slips further away….

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at gmosesx@prodigy.net



More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.