From The Eyes of An Innocent
I kept looking down as a little wave came and on its way back, tried to take away what little sand it could from beneath my feet. I smiled seeing how well the dangerous sea distinguished itself as a symbol of calmness. Standing on the white coarse shore of Somalia, I looked at the stretch of endless waters in front of me and realized how serene everything looked. Indeed, the world was beautiful.
The sunset reminded me of my mother’s incessant warnings of being home before dark and the thoughts of nature were quickly put to rest. Being a rebellious girl, I’ve never really abided by her innumerable regulations but a little exception here and there didn’t hurt anyone. To be honest, she looked worried the whole day today. It was my eagerness to know about what in our monotonous poor lifestyle could make my ever-calm mother anxious that made me, for once, get home on time. My repeated attempts to know about the cause of this anxiety were muted with a “you-are-too-young-to-understand” button. Clearly, my mother had no idea about how mature ten year olds can be. I had overheard her talking to our neighbor and telling her to be at our place before dinner. The mud and clay make a bad sound-proof wall, you see. So, humming all along the way through woods, I made my way back home.
I was greeted with the expected presence of my neighbor but it was the face of our village’s nurse that surprised me. Nobody was sick till the afternoon and as far as I knew, she was called during child-births and pregnancy. Well, nobody looked pregnant till the afternoon either. It was when I glanced at my elder sister at the corner of the room that made me gasp. She had her arms wrapped around herself with eyes red and wide with fear. It was then I fitted the pieces together and deciphered the nightmare about to take place. Refusing to believe in the rumors and stories my friends had told me about, I asked with a quivering voice about what was going on. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure if I was audible with all the shock and trauma weighing me down. I was replied with silence. It was my grandmother who acknowledged my presence in the room by taking me to one corner and holding me down while I saw my sister being tied to a chair by others against her will. What took place next, cannot be put into words. Try as I might, I could not move a muscle. What was even shattering was the fact that our own mother allowed it to happen. The nurse had what looked like a blade in her hand which went inside my sister. It looked as if they all were deaf to the agonizing screams and blind to the pain they were inflicting on her. I watched my sister breathe her last on that chair, killed by the same people she called family while I watched in utter shock. I could distinctly hear my grandmother telling me something related to the honor of the family and purity of a female when I fell down and fainted.
What is honorable about mothers taking their daughters’ lives, I do not know. But what I do know is the fact that a wrongful act cannot be painted with the illusion of being right. I set out before dawn the next day into the waters, never to return. The world wasn’t beautiful afterall.
Author’s Note: Female genital mutilation is a grim reality not many of us are aware of. There are absolutely no known health benefits of this pathetic tradition. It is the result of the deep rooted patriarchal practice of controlling women’s sexuality. The details of this practice can terrify even the strongest person. The need of the hour is to spread information about it and take a united stand against all the such practices.