Woman, cover up!

 Woman, cover up !

15 August 2010

He calls me seething with rage and concerned for my well-being. “I am your friend, I think about your well-being”, “Someone has to stop you”, “Why did you put all of that on facebook?”.

To which I answer coldly “Not only. I also blogged about it and tweeted it too.”

He goes “Are you crazy? Why on earth did you do that?” “You should think about your reputation” “How can you talk about this in front of everybody? How can you speak about your life so that everybody can read it? This is impossible. Someone has to stop you” “I am your friend, I really need to see you, someone has to talk to you. You cannot go on like this”. “My God, you should think about the kids”.

“Precisely”, I answer coldly. “I am thinking about them. I cannot stop thinking about them. A court of (in)justice has refused to hear this reality and grant them and me our rights. What that courtroom refused to hear, hundreds of ears shall hear it and a thousand eyes shall read it.” “I want the whole world to be my witness, so that my appeal, at last, may be heard in its whole truth, may be truly judged and not misjudged” “So that my appeal may bring THEM back to me.”

Yes, my friend I think about THEM, night and day. There is nothing else that I can think about.

He pleads with me thinking that madness has possessed my mind. He pleads with me to remove all traces of this shameful confession, this ghastly, unwelcome display of flesh and pain. He would like me to cloak in hypocrisy what I displayed today. I know he thinks he means well. But I know I have a mind of my own and can think too. I do not need someone to think for me. I do not need to be “in custody”.

Woman, cover up!

Don’t forget. You owe it to tradition, you owe it to custom, you owe it to religion, you owe it to your husband, like you owed it to your father before him like you will owe it to your brothers and then to your uncles if all else die. And if you have no family left, you will still owe it to the male representatives in your neighbourhood, …. You may not be your naked self. You may not share your thoughts. You may not express your feelings. Woman, cover up! You are “in custody”.

Woman, cover up!

Have you been raped, has someone forced what he calls love out of you? Hush! Do not speak! Hush! Do not report! The shame, the shame, the shame…Hush! For if it comes out in the open, I will have to kill you. Or maybe I will just kill you all the same. Out of precaution. For your redemption. It is the most honourable solution for you and for us. I will have to kill you. Me. Your father. Your brother. Your husband. Your uncle. Your legal guardian. Woman, cover up!

Woman, cover up!

Has he beaten you? Is there a mark on your face, on your body that should not exist, naturally? Is it too highly placed to have been caused by a flailing window, by a recalcitrant door? On the small of your back is perfectly alright. Nobody can see that. On the edges of your throat is still okay. You can cover that up in no time. Is it on the side of your cheek? On the top of your brow? On the edge of your chin? On the side of your lip? On the end of your lid?  Woman, cover up! What else is makeup for?

Woman cover  up!

Have you been wronged till you were cloaked in your sorrow? Have you been married off with no hope of a loving morrow? Have you been betrothed with a man much older than you? A man old enough to be your father? A dying man, old enough to be your grandfather? A man at the peak of his vigour, as some tell you jeeringly to convince you. A nice mature and strong man, while you were only nine, twelve or hopefully thirteen? Well it is all part of life. Nothing to alert the neighbours about, so don’t! Not even a secret to tell your best friends, so don’t! Those best friends, women that I will choose – only women of high morality that I approve of – will anyway be living the same life. The only life that you will ever know. Let me screen them so you may not stray. Woman, cover up! That is all that you are allowed to do. You are after all “In custody”.

Woman, cover up!

Have you been oppressed? Has male justice wronged you? Has again male supremacy silenced you? Did you think you had something to say? Did you think that you had rights? Did you think that you were meant to be happy? Did you think that you could go out in the open and tell everybody your secrets? Have you not learnt anything? Woman, cover up!

Woman, cover up!

Sorry, I lost my Sifsari, never learnt to wear a Burqa and Sheherezade stole my veils. The problem is only she knows where she hid them. The other problem is, Sheherezade is dead. Ask Joumana Haddad. She killed Sheherezade.  And now, I will never know where my veils are, so I am afraid I cannot… cover up…Me, woman…

The truth of the matter is…I don’t want to. I will not cover up…Not anymore…

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