Shame on us [Archives:2005/883/Community]

October 6 2005


It was ten o'clock, a pleasant, dark night with frequent soft breeze. Everything was calm and quiet, death silence at some moments, nevertheless a pleasant night. I was chitchatting with some family members until we heard a male ranting and a female screaming in our neighbourhood. The man continued shouting and accused the woman of some acts. The woman kept screaming and uttering meaningless words and frightened screams. The cries were very disturbing. We all paused for five minutes trying to figure out what is this all about. The man's voice became more threatening and kept getting louder and madder. The woman's screams penetrated my very brains, especially when I realized that the man started beating her. The pleading, frightened screams left bitter feelings in us and killed the joy of that night.

I could not forget this event. I kept thinking of it the next day. Regardless of the reason behind the unusual event, I was stunned that this incidence was in public and in the street. Loud and shameless. And where? In my country: Yemen. Weren't many people criticizing the domestic violence happening in Western societies? And how “corrupted and immoral” the West is? And how women in the West are abused even more? Since when does domestic violence reach the public in my home country? Most probably, no body approached or stopped this quarrelling couple in my neighbourhood. It was late and many will not disturb their quiet night to rescue a beaten woman in the street. Her incidence was just buried in the darkness of that night.

I was concerned about the well being of the Yemeni society. Many would say I am exaggerating and over concerned about a mere domestic, violent incidence. But let's not forget that the incidence was in the street, few saw it by their naked eyes, many heard it, I heard it but no body interfered or rescued her. Many would say, “a husband is beating his wife, why would I interfere?” The least one can do is to call the police to stop this incidence. I am sorry but I forgot we do not have 911 in Yemen!

I was ashamed that I could not do anything to stop this incidence. I am sure the group surrounding me felt the same. The five minutes pause ended and after that we continued our night, as if we slotted bricks in our ears to block her cries. We continued our night and each one of us knew it was ruined. We tried to continue our night and rummaged for anything to forget that incidence – just like many things in Yemen that continue no matter on what wrong bases they are.

Shame on us. Shame on many absurd things that continue to happen every single day and people continue to keep a blind eye, in silence. This silence is consent. The consent starts within small things and most probably will end on a bigger scale. Let's not talk about the “West corrupted society” whilst our society needs more attention. Let's not throw people's houses with stones when our houses are made of glass.