Of girls and women….in Somalia

I heard the screams. A little girl yelling in a house. She was hysterical. I stopped to inquire. A woman, who seemed to be smiling, laughingly assured me “ooh its just a little coward girl who will be made halaal today. We have to do it before the suns gets hot”. My heart sunk. Why was she smiling, even laughing? What is there to laugh about? And how can she say that this child, as she is, the way God created her, is not halaal? Is she haram than? Not good enough? Not good enough for whom? How does one fight a system? This system so strong? Why do it while one is so small, so fragile and so powerless? I can still hear the screams. The tiny voice. The begging and the pleading. And the chuckles of the elderly women.


As a child.

Why should a little girl of 5 or 6.

Have recurrent terrifying thoughts.

Of moaning and wailing.

Screaming and screeching.

Dread and lip biting.

The sharpening of the tools.

The commencing of the cutting and the sewing up.

The force and the violence.

Thighs forced apart. Chest held down. Slaps on her tiny face.

Voiceless, defenseless child.

With no power to resist.

The traditional norms bestowed upon her.

As a young lady.

Shouldn’t the wedding day be a joyful one.

With memories to be cherished, recalled.

And family to give roses and kisses.

Instead of fights and thorns. Seeking bloodied whitesheets.

From the infibulated bride.

Will she hold on to an illusion, as the seasons change.

That he will be the husband she most desired in this life.

Shall she be the punching bag, when the world makes him mad.

Not to disgrace the family’s honor and be labelled an outcast.

Shall she make excuses or tell the world that he broke her ribs.

Or turn her head for the like and honor of culture.

Shall she walk tall in honor of Somali women and pray.

That a true man will someday treat her as the treasures she is.

As a mother hasn’t she had enough agony in her life.

Enough torture of the so-called culture.

Being scarred for life.

Why should a mother be subject.

To becoming the second, third or fourth best wife.

Because she isn’t tight and firm in her universe anymore?

Shall she be the man and the woman.

And give birth to boys only, as if she determines that!

Must she sell her soul just to say she has a baby boy.

What makes a woman complete?

The number of sons she has?

The ritual? The cut? The clitoris?

And if a Somali woman gives voice.

To her emotions, her inner thoughts and wants.

She becomes the bitch of the earth.

SO many labels. Changed. Westernized.

A non-believer, a pagan!

Why cant Somali women say out loud.

“We will not go through that.

For we are the architects of my our own lives”.

Why should women suffer in pain.

Shamefully and miserably die in vain

Why isn’t it easy for man(kind).

To acknowledge that.

If God wanted a woman NOT to have.

Her-God-given right.

He wouldn’t create her with that piece of flesh?


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