Kidnap victim: I saw Jesus
God wants me to reach out to Oprah, says Debbie Ali
Published: 3 Jan 2010
Kidnap victim: I saw Jesus | The Trinidad Guardian
Former teacher-turned-writer, Debbie Ali.
Photo: MARK LYNDERSAY
While being held captive by kidnappers, she felt like she died, went to heaven, and saw Jesus. “I felt my life leaving me, but at no point did I cease to be who I am. I was taken to a place where there was rest, release, peace. “Nothing like pain there; no fear, no anxiety. Sadness and grief? It was impossible to feel those things. “I tried to feel sad about leaving my children, but I couldn’t,” kidnap survivor, Debbie Ali, told the Sunday Guardian last week. Ali said she must have been “dead” for about two hours, because she felt her life leave her around midday and her breath return in the early afternoon.
Kidnapped on December 5, 2006, from her Roystonia, Couva home, she reveals an astounding spiritual encounter she had during her two weeks of captivity in her soon-to-be-released book, “Bare Feet.” A former teacher who now describes herself as a writer, Ali has two children with her pilot husband. Although by no means wealthy, Ali was abducted and brutalised for ransom, news reports at the time stated. She says she was “mandated” by God to write the book and tell of her spiritual experience. She says she even heard God speaking to her in an audible voice, telling her how to market the book. “He told me to go to Oprah Winfrey and Obama with the book.” This may sound far-fetched to some, but Ali says she is now “only a phone call away” from making this a reality. “A lot of people will think I’m a nut case and will not believe me, but that doesn’t change the fact that the experience exists.”
Chained, raped, tortured
She was chained to a bed with a dog chain, raped and “tortured more than any woman could bear,” slapped, choked, kicked and cuffed.
“I had a pit bull maul me two, three nights. I had to keep dodging it, but it managed to bite out pieces of my hair. “I was blindfolded and didn’t see light for 14 days. I got eye and ear infections because of the sweat and tears. My vision has never been the same. “I was thrown into a hole in the ground and kept there for one day.” Ali tells all in raw, frank style in “Bare Feet,” which was a torment to write, she said. “It was like reliving the entire thing again. I would write one line and be sick for weeks. “It was not a healing process. Had it not been mandated to me to write this book, I would have never written it. “I had to tell of the spiritual experience I had while in captivity.
I felt my life pass away and leave my body. I’ve been to Heaven.”
It wasn’t just a state of mind she was in, either. “I saw, touched, tasted and felt,” Ali said. “I saw Jesus.” Asked to describe Him, she said after a pause, “He was like light and spirit with a human silhouette. “He lifted me and held me in His arms and nothing is comparable to that experience. “God wants me to write about the experience to show that He exists and He knows, sees and hears all that is done in darkness and in light, and that He saves. “The kidnapping was only a vehicle to expose this experience.” Her spiritual encounter is what gives her the will to live. “This experience I had in Heaven is what keeps me going. If I don’t relive it, I can’t get through the day. It reminds me of where I’m going.” Ali said nothing in the world had any meaning to her any more, including material possessions.
Despite her heavenly encounter, Ali feels she has been permanently damaged by what the kidnappers did to her. “I don’t feel vindicated, in terms of justice being served. I heard through the grapevine that my case is not on the files; that it was closed because there is no evidence.” While Ali’s ordeal does not exist in the police files, it remains a nightmare that haunts her daily. “The experience goes into my family, my kids, my marriage, with long-term effects. “I don’t think I’ll ever be whole again. You really just can’t, after such an experience.” After three years, it has become easier to bear. But time had only eased the impact, Ali said. “I still take pills to go to sleep. I still have nightmares and wake up cold-sweating.” Ali sought the help of top T&T psychologists, but found none trained to deal with survivors of crime. She tried to set up a support group for female crime survivors, but had difficulty accessing funding. “I try to talk to women. The Anti-Kidnapping Unit used to refer women victims of crime to me.”
Ali still lives in the Roystonia home she was snatched from on December 5, her 30th birthday. Crime continues to plague the middle-income community located a stone’s throw from a Couva housing development, notorious for its criminal links. Residents lived in daily terror, Ali said, as break-ins and robberies occurred weekly. “Crime has escalated here to an unbelievable figure. People are robbed and beaten while jogging and have their houses broken into in broad daylight. “I was almost a victim a second time recently. I spotted a strange car making the rounds and called the AKU, and they came in 20 minutes. “The same vehicle was seen in another street later where a couple was held up at gunpoint and had their vehicle stolen.” Ali said almost every home in Roystonia was equipped with an alarm system, electronic gates, electrified fences and beefed-up burglarproofing. “You’re always on high alert, but no human is programmed to live like that.” Ali fears the crime situation will get worse this year with increased unemployment.