A story that certainly changed my life. A biography...
The book is called SOLD and it was written by Zana Muhsen. This text tells the story of two half-yemeni half-pakistani sisters, Zana and Nadia, who lived in Birmingham until they were 15 and 14 years respectively. At this age they are sold by their father. They did not know what was happening, as they thought they were going on holidays with friends of their family to this Middle Eastern country, where their dad was born.
After arriving to Yemen and being aware of their situation, they started facing a life of abuses, mistreatments, violations and suffering. Both teenagers were forced to remain silent, to obey their new "husbands" and "in laws" and to continue with a life that was very different from the one they had back in England, in a yemeni rural and traditional town, where women's voices remain under men's shadows.
In the book, it is very clear how strong the emotions that Zana feels every day become. Days pass by and months...and finally years. They start getting used to their new life, they get pregnant and they still do not know anything about their family, as it is forbidden for them to communicate with their own mother.
Some of the few images about Nadia and Zana in Yemen,
with Nadia's first son.
Pictures taken from tornamosan website
Coming back to England was an ilussion that kept on fading away little by little, until one day Zana gets in touch with her mother by mail through a doctor. Hope comes back into her life and after waiting 8 years, she is able to leave her husband, thanks to media's pressure, diplomacy and her mother. Nevertheless her son, Marcus, stays in Yemen with her sister Nadia because both women are allowed to leave the country only without their children. It is hard for Nadia to accept as she is a mother of more than three children but Zana accepts to leave, promissing she will come back for Nadia, as she thought it would be easier to get international help outside Yemen. Sadly, that was the last time Zana saw her sister.
It is very sad that we keep on being witnesses of this type of atrocities, which remain existing in our so called "modern society". Gender equality, human rights and health in general remain being abused day by day in every single continent in the world.
I have read that Zana lives in Birmingham and has brought up a new family, but Nadia and Marcus are still in Yemen. There is a second part of the book called A PROMISE TO NADIA, but I cannot find it anywhere! I recommend 100% this text, as it is a very different story, certainly a book that you will finish reading in less than 2 days, it is impossible to close it until you know what happened with both sisters!
Zahna and her mother Miriam
Picture taken from Liberteforeverblog
(Andrea Arzaba, April 2010)