Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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She wanted to see the moon...

A short story by Rawa Jelizada, WLUML networker and women's rights activist from Iraqi Kurdistan who participated in WELDD training on Public and Political Participation in Cairo, December 2013 (which included introduction to the Stop Stoning Women Campaign)

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She was 15, from a zone called Monsterstan, the land of beasts... Eyes chocolate brown and hair night black.

She was in love with the moon. She holds best childhood memories with the moon... As she was swinging under the full silver moon 3 years ago, she swayed back and forth so high that she thought she'd catch the moon. That night she turned 12. Early signs of her chest, the length of her hair and her height forbid her to step outside the door. But the moon, the moon remained her best friend. The swing and the full moon were her last memories in the road ahead her home. 

One night, after evening prayer and as she was done with the dishes and the laundry, she was desperately missing the moon, she knew in that hour she could not see it through her window. Her family was asleep. She knew where to get the key of the roof. It was attached to grandma’s feather pillow. 

She finally got to the roof, and rushed to the fence to look straight at the moon, not aware of the monsters staring at her in the neighboring roofs and then one of them interrupted her with the moon. In monsterstan, it was such a mistake for a beauty to respond to the beast. Beauty was something to be hidden beneath a thousand layers. And in Monsterstan, the resident monsters looked as ugly as they could be, and the only change was to be uglier. 

10 in the morning, she was grabbed by the arm by her uncle, pulled to the road ahead their house… She saw the hole in the ground and she understood… she was going to be stoned. 

She caught a glimpse of the swings as she was being buried chest high. The desire to sit on these swings one more time was stronger than any circumstance to face. 

The first stone did not hit her, so did the second one. Meantime, she was moving her foot, trying to find a way out. From the last stoning took place in monsterstan, she knew if she pull herself up the cavity she was inside, the stoning will stop. 

“What did I do! Was it a crime to respond to him! I only said that I was looking at the moon after the monster asked what I was doing, but obviously the other beasts have doubled the story a million times, to the neighbors, now I am a prostitute, the story has been doubled a million times, yes a million times” She would think to herself at some moments.

Soon stones started to rain on her. She decided to free her mind of the pain that her head, face, shoulders and chest was feeling, she just concentrated on a way out to the swings. 

She made it out, as she stood up, she caught a glimpse of her grandmother’s eyes who seemed very determined. She decided to ignore that, too. Perhaps it was monsters giving birth to monsters, that is why the area was called monsterstan. 

She made her way towards the swing, with a hundred red eyes staring at her bloody clothes. She sat on the swing… will she make it to the dark, to see the moon?

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Stop violence, stop stoning... live for humanity, die a human. 


First published here