My name is Yagmur (it means "rain").
I was born in rural Turkey, in a village. Generally Turkish women
enjoy many freedoms, which our Arab sisters can't even think
of. Rural Turkey is a different story. Honour killings take place
every day, women don't have much say (if any) in household
matters and female employment is out of question. However, much
hard work is done by women because men don't want to strain
themselves; women are like cattle or slaves. If husband tells
you to do something, you have to obey.
My mother was a fairly educated woman, she
taught me at home and I even went to school. My hobby was reading
books. Through them I learnt different languages and acquired
a lot of knowledge.
I was a disciplined and obedient girl, unlike
my sister who was somewhat uppity. When she was 18, she fell in
love with a young man. They both loved each other but he was meant
for another girl, thus his parents had decided. Dating is utterly
forbidden in Islam, marriages are arranged and often young people
meet on their wedding day.
My sister was rebellious. She "dated"
that young man. Every night she would go to see him. They even
kissed and actually their relationship went too far. She got pregnant.
At first they planned to run away to a big city where they would
be safe. They knew in villages, religion rules and they could
be in trouble. Authorities don't care what's going
on in rural Turkey. Sometimes imams, mullahs and elders who try
to practice Sharia and break the secular state law are punished
but usually authorities are more interested in big cities full
of tourists and turn a blind eye to what happens in villages.
I remember their young faces. I didn't
understand the whole situation; I was a little girl. But when
I looked at them I could see they were happy. Their happiness
made me happy too and I wanted to smile.
Instead of eloping, they decided to speak
to my father. "Pregnancy is a very good reason to get permission
for marriage", or so they thought.
Alas, my sister had miscalculated my father's
love for her and his obsession with his religion. He became furious.
Instead of letting the two young lovers marry and build their
nest of love, he took her to the religious elders and they ruled
that she had committed adultery. She was sentenced to death by
stoning. They showed no mercy even for her unborn child. She had
stained the "honour" of the family and the only way
to remove that stain was to nip her life in the bud. Her unborn
baby was a stain too and that little creature had to be destroyed
as well, so my family could live honorably.
In the evening before her execution, she came
to my room and told me that she would miss me. She was crying
and hugged me to her bosom. Then she smiled and said that soon
she would see her unborn baby. I was blissfully unaware of her
fate, but I felt that something bad was about to happen. I was
I still remember her black eyes; she stared
at the sky while she was dug into the ground. She was wrapped
in white sheets and her hands were tide to her body. She was buried
up to her waist. The rabid mob circled her with stones in their
hands and started throwing them at her while the roars of Allah-u-Akbar
Allah-u-Akbar added to their frenzy. She twitched with pain as
the stones hit her tender body and smashed her head. Blood gushed
out from her face, cheeks, mouth, nose and eyes. All she could
do was to bend to the left and to the right. Gradually the movements
slowed down and finally she stopped moving even though the shower
of the stones did not stop. Her head fell on her chest. Her bloodied
face remained serene. All the pain had gone. The hysteric mob
relented and the chant of Allah-u'Akbar stopped. Someone approached
and with a big boulder in his hand smashed the scull of my sister
to finish her off. There was no need for that; she was already
dead. Her bright black eyes that beamed with life were shut. Her
jovial laughter that filled the world around her was silenced.
Her heart that beat with such a heavenly love for only a short
time had stopped. Her unborn baby was not given a chance to breathe
one breath of air. He (or she) accompanied his young mother in
her solitary and cold tomb, or who knows, maybe to a better place
where love reigns and pain and ignorance are not known. These
two budding lives had to be nipped so my father could keep his
Woman being prepared for stoning- Iran
She wanted to marry a man whom she loved.
She dreamt wearing a white wedding dress, that there would be
a big ceremony, lots of people would be invited and they all would
congratulate her, chant merry songs and throw flowers and confetti
at her. Yes there was a ceremony, but it was not her wedding.
She was dressed in white but that was not her wedding gown. Lots
of people came to the party but they came to curse her and to
throw stones at her. No music was played and no merry songs were
sang; only screams of Allah-u-Akbar filled the air. The only hug
she got was from the cold earth in which she was half buried.
The only kisses that she received were from the rocks thrown at
her that tore her flesh and broke her bones. They were the kisses
of death. She was not united with the man whom she loved but was
wed to death.
This was a tragedy for my sister's young
lover. His life lost its meaning. He got lashes but nothing more.
He could well forget about the whole affair and get along with
his life, but he didn't. I recall seeing him standing in front
of our house every day, as if waiting for my sister to come out
and meet him. I could see him crying. I can only imagine that
when he was not crying in front of our house he was in the cemetery,
crying over the grave of his love and his baby. One day he could
no more bear his pain and hanged himself.
His death was hushed and no one talked about
it. Maybe no one cared. He was reunited with his love and his
baby. No one can hurt them anymore. No one can separate them from
one another again.
It is a sad story. But unlike the story of
Romeo and Juliet it is a story that is never told. No one talks
about those young lovers. No one sheds tears for them. Not only
they were buried, their memories were also buried as if they never
existed - their tender love was a shame to others - a shame that
had to be washed with blood.
But the saddest part is that according to
Islam my sister deserved that death. The elders were sure she
would be burning in Hell for eternity. No, I can't imagine that
God can send someone to Hell for loving and for being happy. I
can't accept a cruel God.
Now back to my life. When I turned 18, I was
married off to a Turkish businessman from Germany. When I came
to Germany I found out that he had another wife.
He is not a bad man at all. He is very kind,
but he is a Muslim. He doesn't understand why Europeans
don't like polygamy, for instance. He doesn't allow
us to leave the home. He protects our honour in this strange way.
Then we moved to the UK. Here we are even
more isolated than in Germany because there are fewer Turks. In
Germany we at least could meet our fellow expats.
As for my relationship with my husband's first
wife, we are friends. There is some rivalry between us, that's
for sure. But I am alone and can't meet anyone or leave
home. Her life is just as dull and empty as mine. We can't
hate each other; we should be friends to overcome our troubles.
My co-wife and I are like two cellmates. We only have each other.
There is not much room for antagonism or hard feelings.
I have 5 children, she has 4. She occupies
a more privileged position within our family because she has a
son. I have given birth only to daughters so far.
We are both educated, but she is so obsessed
with kids that she has given herself up. I am still trying to
grasp at non-existent straws; probably one day I will be freed...
I read books, keep myself informed and like to think. She is not
remotely interested in reading books or thinking. I am alone.
Sometimes I think of running away, but I have
5 daughters. I can neither leave them, nor run away with them.
Actually, I am stuck.
Even though I left Islam a long time ago,
I cannot stop praying or fasting. My husband keeps a rod for the
When I try to protest, my mouth is shut up
with quotes from the Quran. Islam defines our lives. Isn't
it stupid that people live according to a book written a long
I am not whining about my life but I do hate
Islam. At least I could object to certain traditions but Islam
preserved the worst in our culture, reducing women into slavery
and keeping them ignorant. What can you expect from an uneducated
When I look at my daughters, I pray that they
may live in a free world, free from Islam and this slavery.
Ali, you promised to defeat Islam very soon,
so please do it.
I know sometimes you must feel like giving
up. It seems to me you've devoted yourself fully to the
good cause of yours. You may feel at times that you will never
succeed. I just want to say that you are fighting for women like
me. When you despair, think of me and millions of women with similar
tragic experiences. Never give up. You are my knight in shining
armour. I just want you to know that I am your keen supporter.
Please send this story to your friends and
publish it in your site.
Yagmur Dursun is a pen name. Some details
of this story have been changed to hide the identity of the author.
permission from Faith