The case of Nadia & Zana Mohsen [Archives:2004/797/Letters to the Editor]

December 9 2004

Fanny Graf
I went to Yemen for the first time in 1975 and remained there for approximately 15 years (married to a Yemeni). For sure it was then a difficult country. Of course I heard the sad story of the two British girls.
Everybody will be sorry when girls get married too young and by force. Although Nadia and Zana are born in the U.K. they are also Yemenis.
Nevertheless, I have never heard of any government interfering in a marriage. A marriage is a private affair. To my knowledge you get married normally out of your own free choice, (maybe Nadia & Zana were not asked as their father decided for them); and also you get divorced by either party or both parties agreement. Zana made her choice by returning to the U.K. Nadia decided otherwise.
I guess that the worst time for them was at the very beginning. Since Nadia apparently decided to remain in Yemen, I can understand her, her children are there and they are her family.
For your information, Yemen is a beautiful country and the people are very friendly. Of course not everybody is happy but neither are the people living outside Yemen. Although the country is poor, most people live a decent and good life. People of every country behave according to their knowledge of couture and tradition and not ours. Many of them have seen western-live-stile only in the past few years either through TV, Video or CD. Westerners often reject the fact that not everybody thinks and finds their lifestyle good.
I wish to both Nadia & Zana all the happiness' in the world and that they may choose and decide each one for her own future and that the rest of the world may respect each one's decision.