Good visuals excite me.
The beauty of nature mesmerizes me.
Memories of Pakistan nostalgia-te me.
Position of women worries me.
Chauvinists exasperate me.
Preachers of false dogmas enrage me.
Terrorism sickens me.
Extremists frustrate me.
Moral policing infuriates me.
The lost community baffles me.
Racism saddens me.
Political bastards need to get a life!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

What I Never Said About Myself





I had a test that day and I hadn't quite prepared for it. I was hoping to somehow get out of it. During recess, my friends and I tried to go over the larger details while still laughing endlessly and falling on top of each other for no obvious reason. Something was quite funny, or we were just under-slept, or perhaps too many chips. A girl came over to tell me that the admin had asked for me. The news straightened all of us girls up and started looking at each other, wordlessly thinking of what we had done. Giggling still, I walked into the office only to see the back of my mother. As she turned around, I saw her teary eyes, red. My admin exclaimed that I should go home with my mother. At this point, I had no idea why or what, but I was simply ecstatic to have escaped the test (I did lie to my admin when she asked if I had any).

On our way out I kept asking my mother of what had happened, she gave no answer. As we approached our car, I noticed that my dad was sitting in there. Something was terribly wrong, and only now I was slightly getting an idea of what exactly was happening. I had been dating a white-guy (non-Muslim) for a while now. But how could they have possibly known? I was still giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Five minutes of silence and then my father started. He called me a slut, sex-hungry, lying bitch. Very conveniently, he rolled my mother into his favorite hobby of abusing as well. By now it was obvious - they knew. I felt a heavy burden on my chest, like the sky was falling on me. His anger was out of control, and so were my tears. A hundred thoughts went through my head; who told them?

Upon arriving home, very passively (for the sake of the public) we entered our house. I was welcomed inside with a hard hit on my bottom with a cricket bat. As he continued to curse and paved the way towards my room, my mother did nothing at all. It didn't stop there. He went ahead and started hitting me with a phone cable. I screamed. I begged. It didn't work. He kept saying Is it sex that you want? Should I get you married, you whore! I could not understand why he was saying that; I was completely scandalized to hear these words from my own father. At the same time, I knew, something had broken; between him and me. Then he left.

After that moment, I didn't move. I was frozen in shock. My body was bruised severely. My face was a mess. My mother came in after what seemed like centuries. She kept crying. Why did you do this to us? I could not understand why were they making it so big? Did you do something? Why were they thinking of me like this? I wouldn't be in peace till you had your next period.

I'd been going out with a guy for a little while now. There was no way I would tell my parents even if I had a Pakistani boyfriend, having a British-non-Muslim was completely out of the question. But now they knew. I could not deny. I could not leave the room for several days. And my father hit me every night after coming back from his work. One night I was already sleeping before he came; he woke me up to let his frustration out. He was this close to killing me; he had the nerve to bring a knife up to my face, but not guts enough to stab it in me. I was completely cut off from everything. My food would be brought to my room while the rest of the family ate together downstairs.

My mother would come sometimes to put something on the bruises to ease the healing as they hardened. She sobbed intensely as she went on over and over again about where she had failed, what she had done to deserve this, why didn't I die before I brought this upon her.

I was 17 then. My family was quite conservative, there were a lot of rules. Rules that completely cut us from the society we were living in, socializing with them, becoming even a shadow of them. At home it was always shalwar kameez, luckily we could wear more society-friendly clothing when outside, but even then it had to be something that covered appropriately, was long enough and didn't show any skin.

On the fourth day my mother forced me to apologize to my father. It was the hardest thing. But she made me do it. It was another round of screams and abuses and accusations. And then it came down. She must wear a hijab from now on. I was completely taken aback. But that was the only way out for me. My timings were made more strict, and the already non-existent social life was crushed down to eternal death.

The next day I tried to talk to my mother about my boyfriend. It ended with her forcing me to call him to end it.

That was not the end of it all. Only the beginning.

Nobody wants their life to resemble a cheap novel.

16 comments:

  1. ... is this really your personal story...?

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  2. @Katrina I wish I could say no ..

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  3. AnonymousMay 09, 2010

    wow! *speechless* ... it's so different to read this in a blog as opposed to as some "news" in mainstream media ...

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  4. I "discovered" this blog via PakBlogging. I do not wish to make facile comments. I just hope that you will eventually learn to distinguish between the real you, your essential nature, and the illusory 'I' which is controlled by all manner of forces acting on us. It is not easy to distinguish between "Reality" and "Illusion".

    I am glad to see that your interest in true Islam has survived the harshness of life at home. You might care to read this:

    http://sakibahmad.blogspot.com/2009/10/islam.html

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  5. @Anonymous yup. male dominance is a lot worse than conservatives make the world to believe. and more than just a bitter reality that we'd like to accept.

    @Sakib I don't know if this "discovery" was pleasant to your senses or not, but thank you for refraining from facile comments.
    As for reality and illusion. I think I've faced it with a real hard hit on the wall. The illusion, though, is all around me. The question is, what is the point of living reality in a world that is largely an illusion ... or let's say delusional.
    I went through your post, it's a good read, though it was quite an abrupt ending. But sorry to say, the beautiful picture of islam that you've so tenderly sketched in your post, begins and ends in theory alone. I have never seen what you've explained. Only read it. I've never come across people who agree with me, just only online.
    My interest in Islam, I think, has nothing to do with the reality of my parents home. There was no Islam there. Just a bunch of retards who like to think better of themselves. Just like there is hardly any Islam in this world, just a bunch of hypocrites

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  6. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    It breaks my heart that you had to go through this, especially at the hands of your own family. You survived this, and this shows how strong you are. Not all Muslim families are like this, though. Women rights abuse is a very cultural thing, unfortunately. I grew up in Pakistan, and the amount of abuse I saw was ridiculous. However, now I live in North America, and second generation Muslims here are usually more respectful of women, especially new converts. I hope men learn the errors of their ways, and learn to accept us women as their equals.

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  7. @Anonymous I agree, not all families are like this. In fact, most families aren't like this. But their attitude's the same. How they react is different. And my problem is exactly what you said .. culture! what on god's earth is this retarded culture doing in the middle of people who consider themselves the best people in the world? how arrogant an attitude is that? the things that they do in the name of religion is bloody insane! women dont have rights. gays deserve to be stoned. so what is it then? a religion exclusive for men? why should i comply to that? people are respectful only to those who behave according to their understanding of morality. anything below that is unacceptable. women who wear the hijab are arrogant towards those who dont. couples who raise their kids leniently and let them make friends from the opposite sex and from the non-muslims are looked down upon. what on earth is happening? i dont know what the situation is like in the states. england's just crazy.

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  8. No, Emaan, what I wrote is not theory. The problems to which you refer arise because Islam has been downgraded to a religion, which it is not. Try to live Islam, not "follow" it.

    By the way, there have been several comments on the "Islam" article recently. You might like to re-visit it. Add your own comment, if you wish.

    Possibly, it ends abruptly. How would you have liked the article to end? I was fearful of sounding like a mullah if I went on too long. The essential point is that there is a Wider Reality which we do not perceive because we are overwhelmed by our earthly problems.

    fii amaan Allah.

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  9. It sent shivers down my spine. I cannot believe that a father could ever do this...Why didn't you try to talk about it with some elderly?

    :( I'm really sorry that you had to go through such a terrible situation. But, not all families are like this. I hope you know that.

    Stay happy.

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  10. @Sakib It's theory insofar that a major percentage of Muslims do exactly what you said: downgrade it to a religion. So whatever the utopia is, it's confined to a book and a handful of people who nobody listen to. Don't get me wrong though. I am not anti-Islamist. Far from it. I completely hear what you're saying, and hold dear, and only wish more people would understand it. But have you ever seen the faces of orthodox Muslims? Have you ever noticed how strict, non-human, apathetic, self-obsessed and scary they look? Why? People become (spiritually and physically) what they believe. In the Qur'an Allah says how they look like pigs and monkeys. And it's true. It's amazing.

    @Komal When you're young and even your best friend disagrees with you, none of your siblings understand you, I'm afraid that causes a lot of loss of self-security and confidence. It was shameful to talk of this; what will people think of me if I told anyone this. Being judged was my biggest fear. Fortunately I grew out of it, took a stand for myself and got myself out of that hell-hole. I am dead for them, they are dead for me. I hope they're reading this.

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  11. @Komal Yes I know all families are not like this, in fact most of the families are not like this. But my frustration is, other families/fathers may not go as far as this, but they unitedly would agree that what I did was wrong .. and so to some extent would think that I deserve what I got.

    Recently I read an article on pakteahouse.wordpress.com regarding the Ahmediyya incident that happened a few days ago ... reading it was like a confirmation of the retarded mindset of the majority.

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  12. :( May God help you. It's so terrible how anyone can do that. But you are right when you say that even if the reactions differ, the attitudes are very similar. I can imagine very few Muslim parents being 'Okay' with their daughter even being good friends with a non-Muslim male; I can imagine a lot of them actually resorting to physical and verbal abuse to 'discipline' the girl.

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  13. How can a father possibly even think of doing this!
    You are one strong woman!

    Stay blessed :)

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  14. Confined to a book? Not quite. Have typed out a sequel to 'Islam: back to basics'. Will probably publish it tonight. You might find it of some interest.

    Great attitude. Stay independent but humble, because our 'independence' is a double edged sword - can transport us to insufferable arrogance.

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  15. Hi, I think this just highlights the brutality and barbarism that is at the heart of the Islamic religion. All women are reduced down to what is between their legs, and the choice to exercise your rights over your own body and sexuality are not yours to make but rather up to your parents.

    You should have pressed charges against your father, so he can see how it feels to be on the receiving end of the law.

    Also I'm curious as to why you still insist on being muslim/calling yourself a 'muslim' after all this. I mean are you really that enamoured with such a patriarchal religion where there is no sexual autonomy and where religious freedom is not respected (i.e. you cannot choose to 'opt' of Islam without a great deal of pressure from the community). Ask yourself, has being a muslim really benefited you that much, or added much value to your life?

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  16. Hi Eman,

    I just wanted to say that this takes immense courage to share your own story openly like this. To be honest I stumbled across your blog because this topic is one that interests me. Particularly since my own personal story is remarkably very similar. It absolutely frustrates me and agravates me in my soul to hear more of these stories. But there is strength in sharing. Immense strength and power behind sharing these stories that covered up in communities or publicized in the news once it is too late.

    I live in Canada and come from Egyptian background, which is generally more liberal than Pakistani background, but nonetheless much of parents reactions are the same.

    To be honest I am frustrated by some of the comments on this post possibly since I am extrapolating meaning onto what some might be posting, but I wanted to point out a few things:

    1. Too too often people act on behlaf of religion. Not only does this distort one's personal illusion of power it also distorts the message of religion.

    2. Regardless of religion it seems to me that there is a broader problem which I feel very hopeless at creating change, culture of mid-eastern traditional countries in general sets women up for this treatment especially when it has to do with marrying outside of religion/culture. My Jordanian christian friend is currently going through the same thing!

    3. This leads me to the next issue... We only hear about these stories from the Islamic perspective, but there have been many stories in Egypt of Christian girls marrying Muslim men leading to some sort of abuse to the woman or the man.

    In general, I think it is unfortunate that you were forced to end it. I don't know what England is like, but I am hopeful that resources exist for girls to find ways out of these situations without loosing thier families or the man they care/love. At the end of the day I believe that it is this generation now that is going to create the change and it needs to start from within us. I can see it directly in my family since my elder brother is now engaged (much to my parents frustrations) to a Russian Canadian catholic, my younger sister dating a Philippino boy in secret, and myself on and off trying to distance myself from a Canadian guy I have cared about for the past 5 years. Its no easy task of our generation!

    I have LOTS more to say on this topic but will refrain from this turning into my own blogpost.

    Keep spreading your story and never give up, ecause our generation IS and WILL BE the change we want to see in the future culture of second generation children.

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