A Pair of Tortured Eyes

Our first encounter dates back to 2014 when we were introduced to each other by a common friend. I can hardly remember the conversation, in which I took almost no part, was about; I was too busy studying her eyes – they were as dark as a grave and looked greatly weary. But there was something to them – IN them – that justified the dead-like way she walked and talked. 

A few weeks later, after having strangely become close friends, I learned from her that her parents got divorced a couple of months after she was born, and that her mother got remarried when she was seventeen. She also told me, in the deadest of tones, how that affected her studies, and how even after five long years, living with a “strange man” who couldn’t possibly be any kinder still stung. However, the real reason behind the profound sadness in her eyes was the fact that she was once pregnant and, unfairly, had to get rid of the babies – yes, she had twins. It wasn’t because the man who got her pregnant failed her, nor because she was some kind of a heartless beast capable of killing their own children in cold blood; it was merely because she happened to be living in a traditions-bound, so-called Muslim country! Indeed, Islam and Moroccan traditions forbid any sort of sexual interactions before marriage. But isn’t it the same religion which frowns upon divorce? And aren’t they the same traditions that put both divorced and single mothers into the same “bad women” category? In this respect, my friend’s mistake is not more serious than her own parents’. 

Just consider how everyone – EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US – is provided with a personal “should-do” and “shouldn’t-do” list right from the moment of birth. Contemplate how people are so ready to judge, convict, and assail one another, thinking they received this absurd right  from the instructions written on their own list. Then look at what this cycle has done to humanity!

What if our pain was used to polish human relations and inspire compassion, respect, and love for one another? Believe me, there would be no lost children of divorced parents who would have to seek familial stability and safety elsewhere, and the world would be a better, happier place. 



This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region. 

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