Mental trips

The dreams of a girl from the Middle East

I apologize for this post, which doesn’t have to do anything with translation. What I am going to write about shook me so much, I need to share it with you.

I never really think about, how fortunate I am to live in Europe. I mean, Europe is so loud from its own suffocating problems, that we don’t have any free ears and senses to see people’s real needs.

We might see it every day in the TV and read about non-profit organizations on the banners in the train, but how can you be empathetic with something, what you only see sitting on your sofa or while going to work?

You should see it with your eyes, you should experience, what it means to be hungry or thirsty or having a mortal disease or being an object in your family’s hand, rather than a person.

I don’t blame you, maybe you are even more empathetic than I am. I really have the skin of a crocodile over me to save my brain from all the terrible stuff, that happens all over the world. I try….

Some weeks ago I saw a very moving speech on TED and I  subscribed to the facebook group which supported the idea of Israel loves Iran.

I got some friend requests almost immediately from people from the Middle East and I accepted them. I mean, this was one of the gestures, that I could do for them, at least friend them on facebook.

One name from these new friends contacted me then yesterday with a direct message and goes like: “I’m really amazed of places you visited. you’re a lucky person. and I hope you are always lucky. I wish i’m like you”

You know, I didn’t know, what to say, I mean I immediately thought, this person would come from one of the countries in the Middle East, where there is war every now and then but then tells me to be from from Qatar, being 16, being a girl and using facebook secretly.

She doesn’t even use her own name obviously.

We talked for about 20 minutes and I knew the things, she told me about, but they were so different this time…I don’t know, so strange to hear it from someone, who suffers from this situation.

This girl, she is 16 and after she finishes school next year, she will be married. She doesn’t know, who she will be married to – “of course no” she says – she knows, that her husband will be much older than she is – “of course” she says. She says she feels lucky, that her parents allow her to use internet, but if they’d discover, that she uses facebook and talks to strangers – girls or boys – they would kill her (I hope, she exaggerates). She tells me then that she is planning her escape from Qatar since many years, but the funny thing is, that any surrounding country (Iran, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia) would be no help for her.

So, I just couldn’t tell her anything…everything seemed so fake from my mouth, like “fight for your right” (I mean, they are not allowed to travel without a man’s permission and guarding), or “don’t worry, things will get better” (which might be a lie, how do I know??? All we know is, that she finishes school next year and will marry someone “when he and his father come to ask for us to marry, they meet the uncle and men responsible for us, they agree without letting us know until very soon”)

I go to Paris for Valentine’s day, and what she asked from me rumbles in my head: 

“we don’t travel so much like you guys do, we don’t have freedom like you, I wish more western women realize how they live and how we live”


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