Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I just finished another book: I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced and it was really interesting. I am always grateful when books that tackle difficult subject matter still manage to be positive and upbeat while also being honest and bold. The book is about a 10 years old girl, Nujood Ali, from Yemen who was married off at the tender age of 10 to a man 20 years her senior whom she refered to as "the monster" who abused her in every way imaginable. After a few months of this hell she found the courage to go down to the courthouse to seek out a divorce. Her actions made a huge impact on Yemeni society and many of the societies in Islamic countries in the Middle East. After going to court she was granted her divorce and allowed to go back with her family. Her efforts have helped other little girls find the courage to also seek for divorces from abusive husbands. The end of the book discussed a little bit more in depth the problem with child marriages in Yemen and other countries nearby. Many aide groups have found it difficult because they have to be so careful with cultural sensitivities. The books said: "For example, Oxfam, the organization that is by far the most invested in this project, must weigh its words carefully when it organizes consciousness-raising workshops in the southern part of the country. Instead of discussing "the legal age of marriage," Oxfam prefers to talk about a "safe age," emphasizing the risks linked to child marriage: psychological trauma, death in child-birth, dropping out of school. The task remains a difficult one, however. "Several of our colleagues who work out in the field have already become the objects of fatwas issued by the local sheikhs, who accuse them of promoting Western decadence and not respecting Islam." It would seems that the path to a more enlightened future is a long and tortuous one." While Nujood did a wonderful, VERY brave thing, the road to ending child marriages is a long one and there will need to be much patience and cultural understanding as a solution is found.

It is a quick read, and a VERY good one. I recommend it to everyone. It will open your eyes to a whole other part of the world and a separate world within that world. It will also give you a respect and admiration for a little 10 year old girl who had the courage to demand a divorce. (Here is a picture of Nujood with her lawyer Shada Nasser)

Also, look at these two sites for more information on Nujood and on Child Brides:
NY TIMES: Nicholas D. Kristof
End Human Trafficking
Glamour Women of the Year


austin said...

I remember hearing about this. She sounds very courageous! Also, you should see "Water" if you haven't already. It's about a girl in 1940's India who is married at about 8 or 9 to a guy who dies right after their wedding but she is still forced to live in exile with other widows. Very powerful and well done film.

Liz "The Best" O. said...

I have heard of it and it was in international Cinema a while back but I've yet to see it. It will go on my list right away. Thanks Austin!