|A Modern Moslem Fairy Tale|
Charles Fisch ©2015
Tiny, frail Adilla had been crying and praying to God, to be freed from an atrocious misfortune awaiting her. In one week, on her 13th birthday,
Everyone congratulated her on the great privilege of becoming his 4th wife. But their adulations merely reminded Adilla of that dreadful moment before the wedding, when Abbas’ ancient mother would test her virginity. To make sure her hymen was intact, the old witch would insert her coarse, shriveled finger with hangnails, inside Adilla’s “forbidden flower.” Her life would be worthless garbage without that tiny piece of skin. If that would not rob her of all dignity, then her son would, by raping her and ripping her open on their wedding night. She felt noxious whenever she thought of Abbas’ fat, hairy, putrid body lying on top of her, filling her with his toxic juices, crushing her and suffocating her with his bushy beard, slimy with rancid saliva. She imagined herself fully bloated, pregnant by him, her delicate bones fracturing under the weight of his demon baby.
She had often voiced her opinion that a young girl who is married off to a middle-aged man was “legalized” child-rape. Surely a grown man who had sex with a young girl —who is not his wife— would be jailed in every country in the world for “Statutory Rape.” Why did marriage excuse the same act? Sex with a child —married or not— is rape!!
Her mother, out of fear and shame, tried to muzzle her with her hand each time she expressed such blasphemy —especially in public. Countless times her aunts told her stories about the blessed Mohamed who married his favourite wife Ayisha when she was only nine years old and he was in his fifties. The aunts insisted that whatever the holy prophet did was sacred. They further illustrated their approval with the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary, whose earthly husband was age thirty-seven when she was fourteen and honoured with the radiant child in her belly. It was urgent for them to convince Adilla that every young girl had to obey the beliefs of her religion in order to save her from eternal punishment and harsh retributions of other believers. Women’s most important roles in life are wife and mother —according to God’s laws.
Adilla always listened politely, but remained defiant. She had never forgiven the aunts for holding her down and cutting her private parts with a piece of broken glass on her 8th birthday. Apart from unbearable pain, she got an infection and nearly died. It could not have been God who required that horrific genital mutilation of children.
The forlorn child-bride-to-be, had been crying herself to sleep every night, holding to her heart the only solace available to her —magnets that fell from a military jeep that had rumbled through the village. She could not run after the jeep fast enough to return them. They belonged to her now.
Her brothers had once seen magnets at school and eyed these as prized toys. But Adilla had never been to school. Her father forbade it. To her, the magnets were some form of miracle. She could not understand how pieces of metal could pull each other close and alternately push each other away. She often wished she could do the same —push away hurtful people and draw caring people towards her. She especially wished that she could magically repel her younger brothers every time the mischievous boys tried to grab the magnets from her hands.
As the cursed wedding day approached, her family was in hectic and joyful preparation for the “blessed event.” Yet Adilla was becoming more and more despondent. Strange sensations loomed in her body and were becoming quite unbearable.
On the way back from the market with her brothers on Monday, Adilla’s heart started beating very fast. The stones under her bare feet were increasingly gouging her flesh. Her face was burning and she could not breathe in the veil that she was required to wear over her face in public. In a state of uncontrollable anxiety and tears, she ripped the cloth off her head and ran down the street with hair flying in the wind while scattering all the vegetables they had bought for the family supper. All the scowling men along the way appeared blurry —like shaking, overlapping images— as if she was looking at them through a kaleidoscope.
One of the men grabbed at her and seemed to fall in her wake. Another man went to slap her, but recoiled, yelling out in pain. A third tried to hit her with a stick and he too screamed —his arm was broken!!! Many of the village men seemed to be running after her, all the way to her humble home at the end of the road. Gasping for air, she made it to the house and bolted the door behind her, which they tried to break down. Her father fended them off with a gun.
The ferocious men complained that his daughter had hit them and had broken the arm of one of them. All the accusations seemed absurd to her parents. Clearly she did not even reach to their shoulders in height and weighed not much more than a hen. She was the shyest girl in the village.
But the men insisted that she was violent and contravened God’s laws by exposing her face in public. She must be punished! After much loud arguing and threats, they eventually left. Adilla’s house fell into an electrified quiet in anticipation of the troubles ahead…
News of the scandal quickly reached her husband-to-be, who was now banging on the front door, demanding to know what had happened. Adilla was still whimpering in a heap in the corner of the kitchen. Her sobbing intensified upon hearing Abbas’ angry voice and approaching footsteps. She began to scream that she would never marry him and ordered him out of their house, never to return!
Her parents were mortally embarrassed. This disaster would bring dishonour to the family. Her father tried to patch things up, but she kept screaming and would not listen. Abbas left, slamming the door shut on their future.
The Imam sent his brother to fetch Adilla. As prescribed in the Quran, four men had shown up as witnesses to her transgressions in the street the previous day. The Imam had no choice but to have her punished with 50 lashes in the public square. She was doomed.
Tearfully, Adilla walked to the square with her captors and obediently knelt, as instructed. An enormous bearded man brandishing a cane belligerently approached her upon a nod from the Imam. Raising it high in the air, the man whipped the weapon towards Adilla’s back, only to yell out in pain from being hit across the face, full force, with his own cane. Bleeding and enraged, again he tried to hit her, only to feel the strike across his own back. Abbas now ran up to Adilla with a malicious snarl and vehemently threw a jar-full of acid in her face —a customary revenge of jilted men. But the acid splashed backwards and flowed down his own face. It left a trail of bright red bubbling blisters as he shrieked with the same pain that those women experienced who had acid thrown in their faces.
Some of the villagers yelled that Adilla was the devil and began throwing stones at her —as they would at the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. But the stones flew backward in a u-turn and struck them on their own heads, leaving large welts.
Then thunderous echoes of guns firing could be heard, as a gang of big bearded men with Kalashnikov rifles descended on the village square and started shooting at her. They also cried out in pain, pierced by their own bullets, as they dropped to the ground in agony, blood flowing down their arms, legs and torsos. Bellowing hateful threats at Adilla, they never considered that the prophet Mohammed would not agree with the shooting of young girls or any children
A few of the younger women defiantly tore the veils from their faces and surrounded Adilla to protect her and show solidarity against their oppression as women. Adilla’s shield protected them in turn, repelling the gunfire, bullet by bullet, back at the ones who fired on them. Grandmothers wrapped the fragile girl in their garments and carried her away from further harm as the rest of the villagers watched with anger and fear. Some knelt with heads to the ground and prayed to God to protect them from this devil.
Miraculously God had answered Adilla’s prayers. In some strange magical way, she became like her magnets, able to deflect hateful intentions and draw towards her gentle, loving people.
Adilla realized that she could not stay in the village any longer. Although the men feared her, they would be relentlessly vengeful. These thugs would not give up trying to harm her and her family for seven generations to come. They had already sent for “religious police” from the capital city to investigate sorcery in their village. The punishment would surely be a humiliating torturous death.
Friends helped her and the other young girls to leave town in the middle of the night. With the magic magnets in her hands and her new-found powers, Adilla and her gentle band of revolutionaries ventured down the village road in moonlight to start a new life in the big city.
Along the way, they were fed by kindly people in the many villages they passed through; but when they arrived in the capitol city, they were just a few of the many beggars who had nowhere to sleep and had nothing to eat. Soldiers herded them from one street to another. Bad men wanted to exploit them as work slaves and sex slaves. Other street people wanted to rob them. Adilla’s new powers came in handy to repel the marauders…Yet they often had to flee for their lives to avoid danger. One day became the next. Each day new perils loomed and it was a constant chore to find food and places to sleep.
On a Friday after midday prayers, a group of young people were frantically running down the streets, yelling that they wanted freedom. Many others joined them with great jubilation. Soon their numbers swelled to thousands.
The army arrived and started shooting people. One of the bullets was turned back and shot the soldier who fired it, which prompted other troops to fire indiscriminately into the crowd. People were falling in the street. But with Adilla’s help, bullets fired back on the soldiers, and they also fell wounded.
Some of the enforcers located the source of the passive weapon as Adilla, encircled her and fired upon her. But they were consequently wounded and disarmed. Others came in pick-up trucks with enormous guns, but were no match for Adilla’s abilities. The trucks were torn to shreds by their own bullets and lay belly up, smoke rising from them.
Tanks rolled in, only to be demolished by their own artillery. Helicopter gunships and rocket launchers were aimed at Adilla and her friends, but they too were destroyed by their own munitions. Great explosions reverberated throughout the city as the helicopters spiraled to earth and blew up. Thousands of soldiers lay wounded amongst mountains of destroyed weaponry.
Adilla realized that, as God's vessel, she also had the power to heal. The ones she had wounded were then enveloped within a golden light of love. God was healing them…Amidst tender whispers of encouragement, numerous invisible angelic hands soothed and massaged away all their physical pain and life-long anger due to emotional trauma and unfulfilled aspirations. Soon they were revitalized in body and in spirit. Disarmed by tears of joy, the killers no longer hated anyone, nor did they want to hurt anyone. They joined the rebels who demanded freedom. The army was defeated.
Thundering screams of joy exploded around the land. People sang, danced and played music in the streets. Women tore off their hijabs, niqabs and burkas and burned them in big bonfires in the streets, their faces beaming with smiles in the sun. Then holding Adilla high in the air with great reverence, the idealists marched to the dictator’s palace. A throng of voices that became one voice demanded that the tyrant leave their land.
The despot and his family and all the corrupt oppressors fled in fear, leaving a power vacuum. Fundamentalist extremists tried to hijack the country through intimidation and murder. Again they wanted to deny music, singing, dancing, education and human rights. They wanted to bully women into wearing degrading veils, to maintain them as faceless, powerless possessions. But neither men nor women wanted that anymore…Exchanging one omnipotent tormentor for another would be abhorrent!
These people wanted a better society, where everyone would be treated with equal respect, regardless of their social status, wealth, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ability…A place where all good people could thrive and fulfill life goals of their own choosing. In this new democracy, anyone could stand for office, or vote for a candidate of their choice in free and fair elections. Women would attend school and study what they wanted. They could work in any profession and could even become president…or a judge…or an Imam…and could drive or fly vehicles and walk alone in the street without fear of harm. There would be no hunger or homelessness. Everyone would be included to contribute what they could to their society and in the least, earn a “living wage.” In this haven, violence and killing would be considered an abomination. Weapons and their manufacturers would be banned. Suicide bombers would not be revered as heroes or martyrs, but despised! In their new nation, any two people who loved each other could marry —including Gays. Everyone would have the right to their personal beliefs, and the right to express them peacefully. They could question anything and anyone, even the president —even religion!!! There would be freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion, enshrined in the constitution.
And so it happened...With the revamping of the educational system based on science and Human Rights —not religion— Adilla and her gracious rebels did create a secular country that was admired by all nations. Once peace was established throughout the land, prosperity and wellbeing followed —for all, not just the rich…As it should be throughout all of humanity. •
"There is no such
thing as perfection.
Each step is a step
towards the next step."
Thankyou to my lovely,
smart sister Susan Fisch
for helping to edit my writings
in both English & French.
She does a great job.