Maghreb netizens respond to 8 year-old Yemeni girl's petition for divorce

Tunisian blogger Stupeur!! Un nouveu depart!! (Stupor!! A New Beginning!!) responds to a Yemen Times article about an 8 year-old girl who is trying to file for divorce from a 30 year-old man she says her father forced her to marry.

Yemen Times journalist Hamed Thabet describes the case:

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser arrived at court by herself on Wednesday, April 2, looking for a judge to handle her case against her father, Muhammed Nasser, who forced her two months ago to marry Faez Ali Thamer, a man 22 years her senior. The child also asked for a divorce, accusing her husband of sexual and domestic abuse.

According to Yemeni law, Nojoud cannot prosecute, as she is underage. However, court judge Muhammed Al-Qathi heard her complaint and subsequently ordered the arrests of both her father and husband.

Stupeur!! Un nouveu depart!! writes:

A huit ans, on regardait Captain Majed, Goldorac et Takaya Todoroki, on jouait au ballon à cache cache et aux sept cailloux. Nos filles jouaient à la poupée, à l’institutrice ou à l’infirmière.

Maintenant à huit ans on se retrouve devant une cour et on demande le divorce d’un mari qu’on nous a imposé.

Nojoud Mohammed Nasser est une jeune fille qui s’est présenté d’elle même à la cour de Sanaa où elle a demandé assistance à un juge. déposant plainte contre son père qui l’avait mariée de force et conte son ‘mari’ pour violences et agression sexuelles.

“A chaque fois je voulais jouer dans la cour, il me battait et m’obligeait à aller dans la chambre a coucher”

Jusqu’où iraient ces Homo-ignorens?

Au 21éme siècle on entend encore parler de ces histoires? et on se demande encore pourquoi les arabes ont mauvaise réputation! on se demande encore pourquoi on nous traite de terroristes et de sous développés.

Ne me dites surtout pas que ce sont des cas isolés! c’est très récurrent sauf que c’est tres rare qu’on en parle.

Ceci ne s’arrête pas aux enfants, mais touche même les grandes filles et les jeunes femmes.

When we were 8 years old, we watched Captain Majed, Golderac and Takaya Todoroki [all characters from cartoon shows widely shown on Moroccan/North African television stations several years ago], we played ball and hide and seek and marbles. Our girls played with dolls or pretended to be teachers and nurses.

Now at 8 years old they find themselves before a court, demanding divorce from a husband forced upon them.

Noujoud Mohammed Nasser is a young girl who represented herself on her own before a court in Sana’a where she asked for the judge’s assistance. Deposing a complaint against her father who had married her against her will to a violent “husband” who sexually abused her.

“Every time I wanted to play in the courtyard, he would beat me and forced me to go to the bedroom.” What lengths will these Homo-ignorants go to?

How can we still be hearing about such stories in the 21st century? And we still ask ourselves why Arabs have a bad reputation! We still ask ourselves why people treat us like under-developed terrorists.

And don’t even try to tell me that this is an isolated incident! It’s quite recurrent but only rarely spoken of. It doesn’t stop with children but even occurs to older girls and young women.

The post's title, “Ces arabes qui ne nous ressemblent pas” (These Arabs who are nothing like this), in addition to the subject matter, provoked a range of commentary from a simple “that's disgusting” to praise for the little girl's bravery and hope that such practices won't occur elsewhere:

On a volé son enfance et son innocence à cette fille! Et quel courage a-t-elle trouvé pour se présenter elle-même devant le juge!!! Ces pratiques barbares devraient être interdites et punies! J’espère qu’on ne leur ressemblera jamais!

They stole that little girl's innocence! And what courage to go before the judge all alone!!! These barbarian practices should be forbidden and punished! I hope we will never be anything like them!

Another comment reminds readers that pedophilia is not a racial issue but a state responsibility:

Les arabes ressemblent à tous les humains ! Des pédophiles, il y en a partout dans le monde, et c’est écœurant. Ce n’est pas un problème de race mais de certains états qui ne prennent pas leur responsabilité en ne mettant pas en place des lois qui imposent un âge minimum pour être marié et un vrai consentement.

Arabs are human like everybody else! Pedophiles can be found anywhere in the world, and it is disgusting. It's not a racial issue but rather one of certain countries not taking responsibility for putting in place laws imposing a minimum age for marriage and genuine consent.

In response to that comment, another wrote:

bien dit Mad djerba, les occidentaux ne se marient pas à des filles de 8 ans , parce qu’il y a des lois qui les en empêchent , par contre ils ne s’empêchent de les violer ….

Well said Mad Djerba [the tag of the previous commentator], Westerners don't get married to 8 year old girls because they have laws that prevent them from doing that; however that doesn't keep them from raping them…

An emotional blogger responds:

J’ai lu l’histoire de cette fille aujourd’hui dans le Corriere della Sera.
Crois moi, j’ai eu les larmes aux yeux, et pendant 5 minutes je n’ai prononcé aucun mot…
Des pays comme le Yémen, doivent être impérativement condamnés : c’est un terrorisme qu’il tolère, celui de violer toute l’innocence des enfants. Pour moi, c’est plus pire que les tortures…
Je suis vraiment incazzato à cause de ça…J’ai trop la haine !

I read this girl's story today in Corriere della Sera [one of the most widely read Italian newspapers]. Believe me, I had tears in my eyes and for 5 minutes I didn't speak a single word…Countries like Yemen should be immediately condemned: raping innocent little children is a form of terrorism, and they're tolerating it. For me, this is worse than torture…I am truly incazzato [pissed off] because of this…I have so much hate!

Echoing some of the blogger's sentiment, another writes:

Rien de quoi être fier de ce côté là de la planète…Leur âge d’or (dort)[*] est situé définitivement au passé. Et ce n’est pas demain l’éveil…

Nothing to be proud of on that side of the planet…Their Golden Age [or rather Dozing Age]* is definitively situated in the past. And the grand reawakening won't be any time soon…

A final blogger recalled the days of socialism in Yemen, saying:

et dire qu’en 72 à Aden on était dans un pays qui se réclamait du socialisme avec des jeunes filles et des adolescentes sans complexes avec leurs petits copains dans les lycées… ça me fous un cafard terrible cette histoire t’as envie de faire sauter la baraque.

And to think that in [the city of] Aden in 1972 this was a country clamouring for Socialism, with young women and teenagers going to high school with their boyfriends without second thoughts…This story makes me so sad and I want to just blow up.

(*This is a pun. In French, “d'or” (golden) and “dort” (sleeping) sound the same.)


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site