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How much is a Girl Worth in Yemen? $750, Apparently,
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This review is from: I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced (Paperback)
Yemen. The land of honey, nature, millennia of culture, mountains, deserts, child brides and human smuggling. A country of contradictions. Shariah and secular laws clash in an uneasy balance. Overflowing with a surfeit of poverty, suffering and misery, a new and better life, the Middle Eastern equivalent of the "American Dream" is not as easily obtained as naive young teenagers may initially think. Nujood's elder brother, Fares, learned this the hard way after leaving to make his fortune in Saudi Arabia.
Driven out of her native town of Khardji, Nujood and her family move to the capital, Sana'a. Reduced to living in slums, her older brothers eventually leave. Unable to keep a job, her father sells Nujood (8 or 9 at this point) to another family for $750 (a temporary band-aid at best, and one which her younger sisters may have to face someday also). Despite reassurances that her 30-year-old "husband" will treat her with dignity and refrain from intercourse until the year after Nujood's first period, she is raped the same night she is taken to live with her captors. Reading her descriptions of the "thunder" and "lightning" was akin to reading A Time to Kill, if it had been written as a factual account of actual child rape. It is worth noting that in Islamic theocracies, men determine all family affairs, and the two genders have separate meetings and celebrations. Nujood did not even meet her husband until the day after her wedding. Unable to live as a child or even spend time with children, she finds the gargantuan, prodigious and copious amount of courage she needs to run away, say no, and search for those willing to aid her plight.
Fortunately, her case is taken up by a compassionate judge who shelters her from her abusive husband and blackmail-happy in-laws. Shada, an articulate lawyer and advocate for women's rights, she is liberated from a society where men are drug addicts and abusive. The religious indoctrination and resulting trauma inflicted upon young Nujood may take years more to heal, but at least she is free and safe for the present. Following in her saviour's footsteps, Nujood's tale deserves a place in every library next to Anne Frank's diary and Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel.