the lost son

الابن الضائع

The story of illegitimate and abandoned child of Jordanian Actor Nabil Sawalha
هذه قصة الطفل المهجور للممثل الأردني نبيل صوالحة

Illegitimacy: the shameful secret

My name is Mark and I am an illegitimate son of Jordanian Actor Nabil Sawalha. This is a story of childhood abandonment and it’s consequences for adulthood. I have lived most of my life separated from my family members in secrecy. I have only been allowed to meet my father shortly twice in my lifetime. Many of my Jordanian relatives don’t know my existence except my fathers closest family members and they have kept the secret. For my unfortunate almost only relatives that I have are  in Jordan –  and they are the once that abandoned me. “The Lost Son” title was first used by my uncle Nadim Sawalha when he first saw me in my visit to London in 1990’s.

لكثيرين يعرفون من هو نبيل صوالحة الممثل الأردني الشهير ! ولكن ما خفي فهو أعظم! قد تكون صدمة للجميع! أنا الابن الأكبر للممثل الأردني نبيل صوالحة. لقد عشت معظم حياتي منفصلاً عن عائلة والدي في سرية. لقد قابلت والدي مرتين فقط في حياتي. كثير من أقاربي الأردنيين لا يعرفون وجودي. فقط أقرب أفراد الأسرة يعرفون هذا السر.

1960's My mother meets Nabil in London

In 1960’s my mother travelled from Finland to London to study nursing. In London she met Nabil Sawalha who worked at BBC. They started to date and my mother get pregnant. My father didn’t want a child and he left us and returned back to Jordan. After my birth we moved back to Finland with my mother.

Nabil Sawalha in the BBC in London in 1960's والدي يعيش في لندن عام 1960. ألبوم أمي.
Nabil Sawalha with my mother in London in 1960's نبيل صوالحة مع والدتي في لندن
Nabil with my mother in London in 1960's
Nabil acting in 1960's
Nabil acting. Old photo from my mother.
Nabil in London 1960's from my mother's album والدي يعيش في لندن عام 1960. ألبوم أمي.

1970's My father visits in Finland

Nabil meeting his secret son. نبيل صوالحة يلتقي بابنه السري

My father came once for a short visit to see me in Finland. This was the first time I met my father. Nabil stayed one week in our home and then travelled away. I still remember it well when he left even it’s over forty years ago. I was standing on the bus station with my mother and crying.  After this visit Nabil disappeared for decades.

Nabil visiting to meet his son Mark in Finland in 1970's. التقى نبيل بابنه مارك في فنلندا عام 1970
Nabil and son Mark. Taking in my room. نبيل صوالحة ونجله المهجور
Nabil and Mark. Painting in the kitchen.
Me and my father going through a book in the kitchen.
Outdoors. My father visiting in Finland in 1970's في الهواء الطلق. والدي يزور فنلندا.

1990's My visit with my fiancee to Jordan.

I got contact to my father second time in 1989 or 1990.  After I wrote a letter to my father’s old address , he replied and we decided to visit in Jordan with my fiancee. Many secrets were revealed and some of them changed my life forever. The first surprise was that I was such a big secret. My mother had never warned me about it. And because my father let us come to Jordan I didn’t expect any surprices. I would never have guessed what fate will bring to me after this visit. 

At my father's his home in Jordan. My half sister and brothers Lara, Karim and Omar around. My father told me not to tell that I am their half brother. This was the only time I have met them.
Standing with my father in the front of Jordan TV house before his interview in 1990's.
My father talking in Jordan TV. I was listening the interview in the control room. Here my father told on Jordanian TV that my younger half brother Ziad is his oldest son. That was the time I realized that something is wrong. My father later explained that he didn't want me to be born and my life and future is not in Jordan. My opinion was never asked.
Jordan Royal Family members with my father. My father gave this image to me.
Nabil Sawalha Queen Noor
My father recieving a price from Queen Noor. My father gave this image to me.
My half-brother with me and my fiancee in Amman or Jerash.
My father in his garden in Amman. This was the last time we have met in 1990's.

1994 My visit to London. There I met my father's brother Nadim Sawalha's and my cousins.

I met my cousins Dina, Nadia and Julia Sawalha and my uncle Nadim Sawalha in London 1994.  “The Lost Son” term was first used by my uncle Nadim when he saw me in London. This was the first time he met me after my birth in London. My uncle Nadim also welcomed me warmly to London in 1996 to learn some acting trade but then suddenly when I was preparing to travel there everything was cancelled. They told that Nadim is just retiring and can’t help or meet me at all. Probably my father Nabil was behind this sudden change. Around 1997 my father cut all the contacts and all my relatives went silent.

My uncle Nadin Sawalha in London. عمي نديم صوالحة معي في لندن
From Right: Nadia Sawalha, Julia Sawalha, Dina Sawalha and the lost son Mark.
My uncle Nadim in film Abu Raedعمي نديم صوالحة في فيلم أبو رائد
Nadim and Julia in London.

2021 My family members then 1990's and now after 30 years.

My father has not allowed me to meet my half brothers and sisters for 30 years. Here you can see a picture in the middle when I once met my family members in Amman, 1991. Now pictures are taken from social media.

Julia Sawalha: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

Nabil Sawalha: Captain Abu Raed Trailer

Nabil Sawalha: Documentary