To witness courage is to look into the big brown eyes of Nada Al-Ahdal, the 11 year old Yemeni girl whose recorded flight to freedom has become a viral sensation.
Nada’s will, to not only survive, but to live a life worth living is one everyone can identify with. I’m fortunate to have been born in a place where obstacles placed in the path of my pursuit of happiness were considerably smaller than Nada’s.
Being born isn’t a choice we make. But how we live is. It’s one thing to be dependent on the will of our parents as we develop through infancy. It’s another thing, entirely, to be subject to them until we die. We’re not an extension of our parents will…we are our own individual beings.
Nada refused to submit to an archaic cultural paradigm. She recognized it for what it was; a devaluation of her humanity. Regardless of religion, faith, or culture, a practice which impedes a person from their freedom to choose their own destiny is an unjust practice.
In many parts of the world child weddings are illegal, yet it continues. The cycle of poverty and ignorance is self-perpetuating in these practices. And they’re continually excused because of cultural and religious reasons. The real reasons, however, are painfully obvious. Money and power.
These weddings take place to secure financial agreements between families led by men who see women as commodities. Using religion and antiquated culture to deny these children, from what would seem to be reasonable, allows men to rationalize the concept of child brides…making other alternatives seem absurd.
Nada has demonstrated that her will has not been broken. I don’t know the statistics, but I think it safe to assume, most young girls (despite the acceptance of their culture) do not wish to be wed before they reach puberty. Unfortunately, as Nada said in her video, she’s seen – in her own family – the consequences of these forced/arranged marriages. Abuse followed by horrific suicides. She believed a better life existed for her…and she dreamed of achieving it. Despite attempts to strip away the innocence of her youth, Nada struggled for the ability to make her own choices. And that has made her dream become a reality. It’s helped me realize that I can do something, as well. And so can you…
Talk about this. Write about it. Pass this video along. But don’t stop there. Help make her plight known by calling or emailing your elected officials. Make noise. Add political pressure to a conversation that deserves more attention. Exchange information and engage in dialog! Just do something…anything! Doing so will lead to a world where the sanctioned brokering of human lives will finally come to an end.
Nada Al-Ahdal: don’t kill the dreams of children (theglobaloyster.wordpress.com)
‘Go ahead and marry me off I’ll kill myself’ Escaped child bride, 11, explains why she fled (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)
Girl’s online plea highlights plight of Yemen’s child brides (bbc.co.uk)