Reading the previous stories on the blog I began to have doubts about this whole project at first, I didn’t want to participate in something that might result in a reversed effect than the one we should be aiming to achieve.
WE are not a group of dreary, queer girls who thought it would be fun to ostentatiously brag about our hopes for the better future, the magnificent plans we have drawn for it and help make everybody who solely wishes to get married feel like a superfluous, failure bum; because trust me when I say that most of us are ricocheting between yielding and fighting for our “bright” future, and most of us obviously have moments during which we feel like a superfluous failure bum, and of course, we’re not anti-marriage advocates either; what I think the posts/stories are trying to do is make you reflect on the many great things we can do and still BE married or still wish to get married.
They’re not shared to separate the women of the Libyan society into two categories: those who settle, and those who chastise, ridicule and condemn the ones who settled; this may not of course be the way in which you perceived them, but for some reason I feel obliged to clarify further for everybody else who’s just as too-analytical and paranoid as myself.
Now then, let’s cut to the chaise:
I am a Libyan, but the female whose story I’m about to share with you is not.
From a place far worse than Libya, melancholically-coated inspiration was brought into my life along with the arrival of a motherly-spirited-woman: small in size, short in the number of years the universal standards have set to consider any female a woman; yet, I doubt any other labelling will do her justice as this one.
The responsibility bequeathed unto -let’s call her B- by her mother at less than fourteen years of age was just as colossally traumatising as the way it has been bequeathed.
In an attempt to explain to me the story in broken Libyan Arabic, B said, pointing at her head: “At first she had many headaches”. She has just learnt the word “yuja” (hurts) a few days ago, so she continued, pointing at her breast now: “And then she was “yuja” (hurting) here, it lasted for a couple of years, and she wasn’t cured…” Realising how her hand was nervously fidgeting on one end of the bed, I stopped questioning, she had lowered her head, but a few seconds later looked up with eyes flooded with tears, saying: “I was beside her holding her hand when she had asked me to promise “Rabi” (God) in front of her that I would look after him…”
B’s mother died of breast cancer and her father had long passed away before she was even born, the “him” she was referring to, was her baby
step-brother; B’s mother had remarried after her first husband’s death, and had had a baby boy, after whose care B has promised to look.
In her sojourn to provide food, clothes, shelter and a decent future to her little brother, she has left behind a loving grandma and a kind uncle in a terribly impoverished country. Her uncle who works as a doctor, had at first banned her from traveling to work due to her young age, promising that he will allow her to do what she pleases once she becomes of proper age, but strong-minded as she is, managed to convince him by saying: “If I do not leave here, I’ll end up dying like mother…”
B’s determination is probably as profuse as the sorrows in her story – which may seem like a ludicrously copied version of a Turkish series or a Hollywood drama, but I assure you it isn’t.
B is a domestic worker in a -thankfully- thoughtful environment, she sends all of her earnings to her uncle, and when asked for how long does she plan to stay and work here, she has responded: “Always, as long as it takes.”
Everybody reads stories differently, and what you may start to ponder about once finishing this probably shan’t be the same that will occupy others’ minds; although one thing we might all be sharing is awe-stricken state, at how a young woman who by rights dreams of a cosy home, a loving family, happy friends, shelves crammed with books, closets loaded with shoes, clothes, make up, a decent husband (not in a closet) and a bright future, just like the rest of us; but when deprived of all, she manages not to get deprived of well power, not to quit on life, forget her promise, buries herself deep under the blankets of her bed and wait for the Angel of Death to gather the remains of a relinquished soul.
I’d dare and say that we’re all living a better life than the one B’s living, we’re mentally, psychologically and maybe even financially more capable than she is, yet why do we only do so little?”
Written By : S.E