Friday Fictioneers: Whose Side Are You On?

copyright-erin-leary-2“How can you sit on the fence and not say anything?” Hina’s voice shook with anger as she faced her mother. “I deserve to go to university, I worked hard for it!”

Zahida continued with her embroidery not looking up at her distraught daughter.

“I will not marry that man, I want to study. I don’t even like him; I don’t like his face, why can’t Abba understand that?”

As her daughter stomped out of the room, Zahida put down her embroidery and wiped away a tear. History was repeating itself and she had not the strength to stop it.

(100 words)

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45 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Whose Side Are You On?

    • Yes and it’s quite interesting to see people’s reactions who think everything in the rest of the world happens the same way as it happens around them.

    • Well then it will surprise you to know that I have a happy arranged marriage. My post about my Journey of Ten Years:
      I did not know my husband very well when I married him but of course I had the option to refuse if I wanted to. I was not forced into it but there are many girls today in my society who have to give up their dreams and obey their parents.

      • Really? It’s nice to hear that it worked out so well for you and that you had a final say as to whether to marry him or not. Some arranged marriages can turn into a deep rooted love for one another. It’s certainly not unheard of.

      • It sounds quite strange to a lot of people but for us it’s just normal that we accepted our elder’s choice. Especially as it was not forced on us.

  1. I agree with Patrick on the use of fence !
    Sad – but a true picture around the part of world we live in.. things are changing… but too slow for too many souls.

    • In the cities the new generation marries of their own choice i a semi-arranged situation but in the villages arranged marriages are the norm. It works if the choices of the boys and girls are taken into account. By the way I have known girls who didn’t want to get married at all but forcibly did and ended up very happy with their husbands.

  2. Zainab, what good use of the fence to pull me into your wonderfully sad story. We know several families who had arranged marriages (but not forced) who are very happy. As you say, it seems so foreign to most in the West but can work out very well. But the part of it you’re showing is not so wonderful. And at the extreme end, look at those poor girls in Nigeria!


    • Thank you Janet, yes I showed in my story what happens a lot in my country. Many women have to give up their dreams and get married to men they don’t know. Hina will probably end up getting married, but who knows her husband might support her future education and her dreams more than her parents ever did.
      If I had a daughter I would make sure she had every opportunity of making her dreams come true. My father made sure his two daughters were educated and competent enough to stand on their own feet and I would do no less.
      Having said all that I still cannot be an opponent of arranged marriages between two educated, aware and mature adults as long as they are not forced as I have witnessed them to be successful. It’s all about the attitude.

  3. Dear Zainab,

    Once more you’ve written a story that draws me into a different mindset and culture. To say more than “Brava!” will detract from a powerful piece.



  4. Zainab, Well-written and powerful story. There have been a mixture of love and arranged marriages in my husband’s family. They’re educated people and no one that I know of was forced. I know of one that didn’t work. I think the reason so many do work is that the couple have a lot in common. It’s a real shame that so many girls who want higher education are forced to give it up to marry men they hardly know and perhaps don’t even like. It’s even worse when a high dowry is demanded. Well done as usual. 🙂 —Susan

    • Thank you Susan for your comment. I think the secret to the success of an arranged marriage is that parents tend to have a better broader view of life as compared to a couple in love who cannot see beyond each other. Parents consider family background, education, job as major factors when arranging a match for their children. Then it’s up to the boy and girl to decide if they want to go for it or not.

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