A Silent North African Bride, Staring Into a Corner

It was a quiet afternoon, I was sitting with my sister and my mother in our living room. I felt frustrated about the women’s situation in the whole MENA region. This week something sorrowful happened in my town that left all families in an overwhelming grief. There was a woman in our town that had a small fight with her husband, so she decided to stay in her father’s house until  her husband comes to ask for forgiveness and to get her back to their marriage house. A tradition that is highly applied by most of Algerian women once they get into any fight with their husbands. And yes, after a few days, her husband came asking for his wife back. However the father refused that she returns to him and he threatened to kill him if he approaches her knowing that they both are still married. The husband insisted that his wife goes with him. He returned again to his step-father’s house with his own father this time insisting on the man to allow his daughter to leave. Her father entered the house and brought a gun. He shot both of the husband and his father. The woman ran away. The neighborhood was a mess. This man’s stubbornness sucked out the life from two families and made his own a huge mess.

The saddest thing about this whole thing, is that, no one asked the poor woman what she wanted. Did she want to return to her husband? Was she seeking for a divorce? Or did she only want a small break from this whole marriage thing? Nobody bothered to ask. Just like robots, women over here are programmed on these traditions. Applying them without the need to debate. It is a shame and a disrespect to argue over a tradition. It is not acceptable to say no to the elders, and mostly unforgivable to say no to the men ruling the house. They get to decide.

I know that this is not the case for all women here, but I keep hearing and seeing these domestic violence acts everywhere around me, every single day, and it just saddens me that they keep repeating themselves.

I wanted to remain strong in front of my mother because she had to go through a lot, after losing her beloved sister – my aunt- that was murdered by her  oppressive husband more than twenty years ago. Due to his wrongful doubts thinking that she was cheating on him. My aunt wasn’t even allowed to leave the house nor to visit her own family. The lady was locked in the house, no way to cheat on this man. Eventually, and fearlessly without having any second thoughts he murdered the woman. This is a past story, I never met my aunt but how everyone speaks about her makes her alive in everyone’s heart in our family.

My mother saw the frustration in my eyes. She looked at me, laughed and said:

-You know Ikram back when I was a kid, I remember going to weddings with your grandmother. The wedding starts early in the morning and ends late in the afternoon. For this whole period, you would see a woman wearing a long white scarf facing the corner of the living room as she sits on the floor. Can you guess who is that?

-I have no clue! Who is she?

– Sweety that’s the bride. Back then, the bride was forced by the traditions to remain silent, and not turn her head and look at the guests, that would be very shameful! Illustration of the algerian bride back then

-But why!!!

-Too simly because she is the bride.

-That is so oppressive mother! She couldn’t even enjoy her own wedding!

-I know. My generation seemed to be more liberal – she said sarcastically- we refused to apply this kind of traditions, and decided to go by our owns. You see darling, this tradition vanished. Today, the bride doesn’t remain silent, especially in algerian weddings, you would confuse if it’s a bride or a model.

We were more rebel, we used to make others listen to our opinions, we demonstrated what we hated, what we wanted. We refused to remain silent as those brides. I want you to keep in mind that even-though you were born in a different body than the male’s one, this shouldn’t make you feel less equal to them. Never let anyone decide in your place, never fall in love with an oppressive man. Save your life, save your dreams from these kind of sick people that suck the life out of women. Women will not be oppressed forever only if they decide to stand up for themselves and start speaking for what they really want. And most importantly, the women’s situation will be better when women stop endowing themselves to oppressive men. I would be a shamed to know one day that my daughter is a silent bride staring into a corner.

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Those bullies of mine….And my story in dealing with’em

As most of the kids my parents sent me to a public school, it was pretty exciting for me at the beginning to learn new stuffs about different subjects and meet new people…  yeah new people…  

I remember my years at the middle school where I was the most fat and the tallest girl of my class! yeah I was that BIG …

One of the greatest things that made me a target for those kids was being that BIG for them and everyone was like: LOSE WEIGHT FAT COW!! I have to admit that in the past it hurt me a lot to hear something similar from those I spent eight 136324hours per a day with, and the most hurtful thing was when we were having a team work or a sport activity most of them avoided me…. 

I kept trying to interact with them at first but I failed and I’m not ashamed to say that! so all I did was ignoring them as much as I could, and isolate myself from them till I reached a point where I couldn’t speak to anyone of them!

An other situation where I got bullied was a few years ago, I’ve been attacked by three girls who wanted to take my seat place at the class, I didn’t want to leave my seat for them! who would do that? well and another confusing question how can the three ones of them sit at the same place?? !!!! one of them tried to flip the chair I was sitting at and the other started to curse me and insult me with some vulgar words I never heard someone saying in my whole life!!! I wanted to speak to the teacher but they ran to her before me and told her other stuffs! even I, I was so surprised!! I can’t forget that day ever!! I kept crying, just like kids do, and I went back home and reported everything to my elder brother! the next day we went to the school’s principal and reported everything to him, he was like OK I will deal with IT !! just relax! AND I SWEAR THAT HE NEVER DID !!! 🙂 I didn’t feel like I wanted to go back to school because I felt like I was the joke of the class! but eventually, I had to go back to school!! So I decided to avoid them, I took a chair, a table and put it on the back of the class, and I asked a girl I knew she was good to join me at my table …. I could have revenged and acted the same way as they acted, and attack people as the same way they attacked me, but I choose to do it the hard way! I was teasing them!! 🙂 how? too simply I fat-skinnywas the first of my class for each trimester and the one that gets the best grades in EVERY subject! they went crazy for that! I have to admit that ignoring them was a great thing I did for a while, but later in life I figured out that No man is an island! or that’s why my English teacher kept trying to make me understand it! at some point they were right!! I had to lose weight! so I went through a diet! 🙂 So yeah I went from that pic on the left to the one in the right!!!

Eventually, I figured out that moving on is a bless! So I had to forgive them deep down in myself, without letting them know I did, I didn’t forgave them because they apologized (they never did actually), or because someone told me to! I forgave them because I needed that so I can move on with my life, and see things differently! but the most thing that made me upset and mad! was the fact that they were bullying others…..! and NO ONE was acting about it! even the teachers! I may haven’t reacted wildly when they bullied me, but when they did to that nice redhead girl who was sitting next to me I got upset! It was the first time I ever had to face them! I went to those girls and told them to stop the crap they were doing! because it’s no longer valid! they actually look so stupid, it didn’t make them look any special or different! it was just making them looking worse a day after another!!! when I mentioned how stupid they look I think it was a kind of a punch on the face to them to wake up!! and realize what they were doing!

After that day, I felt like I grew up some fearless attitude inside of me! I wasn’t scared nor worried to tell anyone the truth in their face, and give my opinion fearlessly !

I have to admit that without those bullies I wouldn’t be where I am now! I grew up slowly, a step by step to become fearless! and more confident than I was in the past! Thanks to them I was getting the best grades! thanks to them I developed myself optimism!

My message here is: be who you are, never hurt or bully others, it can harm a lot of people lives, don’t take it as a joke, because this joke can grow up to be something serious and lead others to harm themselves in any possible way just to get forgiveandforgetquotesrid of that pain they think is real! be friendly, be nice, be what you want to be without crossing your limits! and the world will be just FINE …. 

And for those whom are getting bullied, report it, if it’s not working, ignore them, if it’s not working then face them, make them stop that thing they’re doing! don’t behave inappropriately ! forgive them, and move on with your life ! do it for yourself, not for them! I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, and got out safely, as I did, I’m sure you’re strong enough to do as well! I believe in you! focus on positive things, life is beautiful, I know they make it look like it’s the worst place to be at, but trust me, it’s not! we’ve got so much to give! so much to live for, you can’t imagine the opportunities that are waiting for you to take them! never lose hope! go after your dreams and achieve them! don’t tie your life to people nor to objects because they will fade, tie it to a sacred goal and achieve it! that will be the time when you will reach happiness! 

Much love, Ikram ❤

Famous quotes

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Rumi, Essential Rumi

I totally disagree with Rumi, because lot of stories can change our lives, and there’s an other quote says: ” There no time to have your own stories, take others stories and learn, and make from your story a successful one”

Shape amazing I loved it!!

and this one is the quote that I like to follow a lot, because technically we have no time to waste on experiencing things we know that they are wrong or half-wrong and we know that others tried it and didn’t work, so basically we have to look forward and seek for the good achievement !

So we must be satisfied with the story as long as it gives us a good reflection, and go toward our dreams, somehow he’s right from the corner of greating our myth and unfolding it, but we look for stories as an example, if he meant not seeing it as an example then I disagree with him, but if he meant to look forward then I agree with him!