Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced (copy)

I go alone. He does not know I am gone. He is at work and I should be safe until he comes home.

The Al-Qa Square is full of people. The noise is jarring and the pushing and jostling make me nervous. I feel like a ball of yarn being batted around by large cats.

This place is the opposite of my village of Khardji in northwest Yemen. My home is quiet and I have few neighbors; mostly, they are relatives of mine. Oh, I wish I were home among my family and not out in this chaos seeking justice.

Finally, I find the building that holds court. I weave in and out of the important people. I can tell they are important by the suits and zanna they wear. Those who have on the ankle-length tunics of northern Yemen also carry their jambia, a ceremonial dagger, waist high behind belts.

I walk through an open door and am faced with a group of wailing women and men wearing black robes. This is the place I want to be. It is up to me and only me to find one of those black robed men alone and get what I seek.

I will never be alone in here though. The women are wailing so loud I cannot understand what they are displeased about. It would be easier to read lips if they did not cover them with the traditional niqabs. Everywhere I look, I see big eyes lined in kohl and framed in rectangular windows talking to me. What are they trying to say?

Court has been dismissed by the noon call to prayers and I am swept out by all the bodies rushing for the door. I try to reenter. I try to reach one of the judges but it is no use.

Once outside, I stop a woman and ask her where I might find a judge. She points to the staircase and says there are plenty in the rooms upstairs. I climb the stairs fighting a queasy feeling I believe generated from the heat. I might have fainted at the top if not for the quick shove I got from a boy running to catch up with his parents. I open the first door I reach and sit in the waiting room among others.

The room is empty now and I sit afraid I will be missed as it becomes dark. The lady at the desk goes into the office and speaks to the judge. Suddenly, he is standing in front of me. “What do you want little girl?” I bravely state, “I want a divorce.”

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui is a true story that will break your heart.

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