The plight of many young girls in parts of the world is horrendous, ranging all the way from being denied equal access to education to suffering genital mutilation and being forced to marry older men. In a report, Human Rights Watch says that Yemen is a country in which child marraige is common because here is no legal minimum age and girls as young as eight are married off, denying them the right to a childhood and education, and often suffering serious abuse.
Neetzan Zimmerman tells the story of a brave 11-year old Yemeni girl Nada al-Ahdal who fled a marriage. With the aid of an uncle, Nada managed to avoid being forced into marriage to a rich man by her parents. Her uncle’s sister had self-immolated after being forced to marry against her wishes and he was determined to not let his niece Nada suffer the same fate. He managed to get the prospective groom to call it off by saying that Nada did not wear the veil and liked to sing and would continue to do so and so was clearly not going to be a ‘good’ Muslim wife. But then she was promised to another man by her parents and she ran away.
Here is Cenk Uygur showing a video that Nada has made.
While her video is inspiring, it is also heartbreaking that a 11-year old has been forced to have an awareness of such adult things, instead of just playing with her friends and going to school and doing other normal childhood things.
Like Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, I hope these highly articulate young women become the inspiration for young women and men the world over to throw off the barbaric practices of their parents.