I’m not a scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence and I’m not questioning or challenging any tenets of religion whose followers deem it fit to let a minor girl marry a 40 years old. It is simply a heartrending story of SANAA, once the background town of famous ditty (song) “Mulk-e-Yemen men larka tha ek aath saal ka.” Here the story belongs to ‘a girl’ of 8 years. It is very recent. With the parental consent in marriage, the girl was handed over to the OGRE. Poor eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding on her wedding night. There is outcry at present in that country against this inhuman conjugal union and ‘Child Bride’ has become a burning issue. The girl identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old man last week in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province in northwestern Yemen.
“On the wedding night and after intercourse, she suffered from bleeding and uterine rupture which caused her death. They took her to a clinic but the medics couldn’t save her life.” Local tribal chiefs tried to cover up the incident when news first broke, warning a local journalist against covering the story but the Meedi residents confirmed the incident.
The backdrop of this horrific story is the poverty of Yemen. Many poor families in Yemen marry off young daughters to save on the costs of bringing up a child and earn extra money from the dowry given to the girl.
It makes one sad to read the history of this world’s ancient civilization. Yemen was linked some of the oldest centres of civilization in the Near East. The kings of Yemen, for centuries controlled the ‘spice’ and ‘incense’ trade of this accessible globe. The Sabaens of Yemen, described in Holy Books, were the builders, in 8 th century, 580 meter long Marib Dam. They had unified most of the sothern Arabia in the 7th century BCE and established a confederacy with the Hadramites and Qatabanis. They were one of the first to develop the writing system by the 10th century BCE and it was called Musnad. It used to be the main writing form for the entire Arabian peninsula until the 6th century CE. In the 6th century, wars between Jews and Christians weakened the central government and the Southwestern coasts of the Arabian peninsula became a Byzantine State.
Islam arrived in Yemen in the 7th century. Ayyubi dynasty, based in Egypt, in the late 12th century, took control of both Yemen and neighbouring areas. The Turkish Ottoman Emire took control of city of Aden and Yemen. Yemen became a British subject in 1839. Aden served a major refulling port when Suez Canal was opened in 1869. It would require long reading to put the whole story. To make it short and relevant to the recent development let us just take the Saudi-Yemeni story of borders. Way back in 1934, a treaty between Yemen and Saudi Arabia was made. It is called “The Taif Treaty.” It delineated a common border between Saudia and Yemen. As Al Sauds, with the connivance and active support of British, were capturing the rest of the peninsula in the name of unification, Yemen was forced to swallow the pride and dance attendance to Abdul Aziz al Saud’s tune. However, the conflict over the border continued. Saudi interventions in Yemeni politics caused civil wars for much of the last century in Yemen. Being the only democratic nation on the Arab peninsula Saudi Arabian monarchy was always hostile toward the Yemeni democracy. Saudi’s, as per the Arab observers had attempted to militarily intimidate and even sabotage the democratic regime. Yemen’s government has often blamed the Saudi’s for any internal strife. In the Gulf War, Yemen sided with Saddam against Saudi’s.
Yemeni Human rights groups under the banner of ‘Aseer’ called on retrieving all Yemeni lands that are occupied by neighbor Saudi Arabia. The districts of Najran, Jizan and Aseer, the most fertile, picturesque and productive regions are currently in southwest Saudi Arabia close to the Yemeni border. Apart from the Yemeni islands at Red Sea these are the Saudi occupied lands. This group accuses former dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh of conceding the lands for, what it considered, a “Saudi occupation,” through the Taif and Jeddah borders agreements that were signed by the two countries in 2000.
According to Yemeni opposition groups, Saleh surrendered the region of Aseer for $18 billion, which was then distributed amongst high-ranking officials in Saleh’s regime. Aseer’s spokesperson, Abdulrahman al-Ashoul, considers the regaining of the lands a national issue that concerns all Yemeni people. Saudi Arabia, along with the United States, played an important role in pushing Saleh aside in a deal that was aimed at retaining its interests and influence in the impoverished Arab state.
Now it would be easier for the reader to understand why the poor parents of Yemen let their daughters marry with these Ogres of Civilized world. I wish and pray these bride-hunters should not be allowed to have easy clandestine marriage arrangements in India.
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