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To Know Reema August 19, 2010

Posted by aboosh in Jordan, Violence Against Women.

She was too young to deserve this.

She was too beautiful inside and out to endure this torture and misery.

To know Reema, is to know that she was the youngest sister in a family of 4 brothers and 6 sisters, my mom being the eldest. My 86 year old grandfather was never supposed to bury his childern, especially not the youngest. لا اعتراض على حكم الله.

To know Reema, is to know that she was a small village girl with big girl dreams. She was bubbly, smart, full of life and energy, a jokster, and the smile never left her face, or those who surrounded her.

To know Reema, is to know that she was an artist at heart, but was short from making it into Yarmouk Uni College of Arts. She finished her studies in English Literature at Philadelphia Uni, and became an English teacher. Soon enough, she proved herself a valuable asset to the local society. She rose within the teacher ranks to become a course coordinator for the English teachers in the region. She was the leader of the local Scout Troops chapter, saluting the Jordanian flag every morning at the Al-Mastaba Girls High School.

To know Reema, is to know that she was shot less than 4 days after she finished her Higher Diploma exams for her IT degree.

To know Reema, is to know that the title of her IT degree graduation project was “التغيير للمستقبل الواعد” which translates to “Change for a Bright Future”, focusing on improving the tools the teachers have and making the student the pivotal point in an increasingly IT-integrated education process.

To know Reema, is to know she was a high caliber teacher who participated in Queen Rania’s Jordan Education Initiative and has presented her with appreciation letters from Queen Rania’s office. She defied all the odds in the community and she had the initiative to open up a Yarmouk Uni section in Al-Mastaba, so that her other female colleagues won’t have to travel to Irbid City during the week, but rather have the professor come to teach them; All in the name of easing their daily suffering!

To know Reema, is to believe that she was the best in what she did, plowing through the daily husbandry abuse that ultimately cost her her life.

To know Reema, is to know that she is one in many. She is the one whose life was cut short, but speaking for many who continue endure daily physical and mental abuse on the hands of their families and husbands. Yes, violence against women is a global disease. But this one, oh, struck too close to home, and the heart refuses to let her go in vain.

To know Reema, is to love Reema, and to promise her that her message is heard throughout the four corners of the universe.

However, we are awaiting to hear a single word from the Jordanian leadership which does have the political well and the moral obligation to bring in the change that was due the morning of last Friday! Your apathy, your indifference and your silence is deafening!

I challenge you to take on the responsibility that the people have entrusted in you. I challenge you to uphold your mandate that defines your role in the society. I challenge you to protect the constitutional rights for every woman and child in Jordan, and assure them the safety they are entitled to.

We have a problem that we all need to face with courage and humility. Reema was a victim of abuse, and she died a martyr. For how long are we going to tolerate the abusers in our society? For how long are we going to accept bruised women with missing teeth walking amongst us as if it is the norm? For how long does the schizophrenic reality of this society going to take a free pass before we intervene and cure it? For how long are we going to allow one more frigging magician to destroy more homes of the country we love and belong to? Do we have to actually witness the sacrifice of every abused woman’s life before we put an end to this insanity? Or is it because Reema is an ordinary woman with an ordinary last name, you’d think she’ll be forgotten with the passing of days?

To know Reema, is to know she’s nothing but ordinary.

I call for the establishment of a foundation in her name, focused on the educating, protecting and empowering local women in all Jordanian govetnorates, and having the highest level of social, psychological, and psychosocial training to quickly act in response to domestic violence and abuse.

I am aware of the fact that such programs do exist in Jordan, but we need these programs and laws to be enforced, and the punishment to be stiff (as it is the case in other developed countries). This is the only way we can deter any one claiming to be a man who abuses a woman, believing it is his God-given right as a man.

Speaking for myself and for my family, I personally thank all of those who extended their condolences and prayers for my Aunt, may her soul rest in peace. The outpour of support, sympathy, and anger over her victimization is humbling.

The public outcry against this crime is overwhelming, both locally and internationally. A petition on change.org ushers the Jordan government and Royal Family to enforce the laws to protect women in Jordan. Global Voices, Elites TV and 7iber have also ran extended pieces on the story. Many follow bloggers and tweeps have been highly vocal and supportive in the need for change to honor Reema’s memory.

To know Reema, is to have the courage to walk high in her footsteps.


You will not die in vain August 16, 2010

Posted by aboosh in Jordan, Violence Against Women.

حسبي الله و نعم الوكيل.. إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون.
اللهم إغفر ذنبنا و اهد قلوبنا و صبرنا على ما أصابنا.
اللهم تغمد برحمتك فقيدتنا و ارها مقعدها من الجنة و شفعنا بها يا أرحم الرحمين

A tragedy has struck us.

I never thought it would come to this. That I come to write an obituary for the closest and dearest aunts of all. My aunt Reema, may Allah have peace on her soul, age 35, mother of 2 girls and 1 boy, was cowardly shot while she was asleep. The assailant is her husband.

You probably have seen the headlines in the local news outlets here[AR], here [EN] and here [AR]. My aunt is (and I refuse to say was) the definition of youth, potential and an example of local women leadership. In her life that was cut short, she gathered tremendous support and love from everyone she met or whoever crossed her path. She is an example to everyone, with her level of education, her perseverance, and her elegance.

In 21st Century Jordan, she resembles where an individual should strive for. Her work for the local universities, for the local schools and graduate studies has affected hundreds of young local females.

In 21st Century Jordan, she presents the example of local leadership that works against all odds, to reform her surroundings, to present a better future for those who follow in her shadow, and to bring the bottom-up revolution we all seek for.

In 21st Century Jordan, aunt Reema presents the model for all Muslim women around the world: a model of conservatism and modernism, that adheres to the local cultural values, yet, flourish where many have failed.

In 21st Century Jordan, my aunt Reema AbdulHafez Al-Abed, was shot dead in her sleep.

In 21st Century Jordan, my aunt Reema was a victim of the backwardness that so many still live and thrive in.

In 21st Century Jordan, aunt Reema’s educated world, clashed with the retarded, backward-thinking, ill-mannered, jealousy-filled 2nd Century world of her cousin and husband!

In 21st Century Jordan, aunt Reema’s educated nephew, needs to write a blog post talking about the idiocy of a husband who still believes in magic and voodoo, and its affect on marriage!

We REFUSE to let you die in vain. We REFUSE to let you be another sad story or another sad statistic in a sad reality that we call Jordan.

This half man will meet his Maker soon enough, and I will not rest until i see the noose slung around his neck. He killed her in cold blood; pre-meditated, and long-calculated. She was a victim of years of mental abuse and a victim of old hatred that consumed this disgrace of a man.

But we REFUSE to let you die in vain.

The justice system will take its course, and this mockery of a man will be hanged, and all those who encouraged him and supported his cowardly act will meet the heavy hand of justice.

But we REFUSE to let you die in vain.

We will have the courage to face your tragic loss with heads held high, and show the world what you have taught us and kept teaching us.

You will light the road in your death as you did when you were alive. You will light the path to all women who are among us, but dead inside; women facing daily mental and physical abuse; women in 21st Century Jordan who walk among us with teeth missing , bruised eyes, hunched backs, and carrying the weight of an unforgiving and a thankless society.

This is not the end of these tragic stories, as we have seen so many come to bitter fruition on a daily basis; but this will be the start of eliminating this retarded and cowardly act from the Jordanian society:
1. The Government must act quickly and firmly to bring protection to these families.
2. The government must become proactive in rolling out programs, with boots on the ground, that act fast to give these victimized women other options.
3. The government must focus its work on education, rooting out the clots of backwardness, and prosecuting so-called-magicians. The jails MUST be filled with their likes.

The government has a role in dealing with this problem, but the society bears the heaviest role:
1. All mosque leaders and tribe aldermen need to educate their local societies about the roles and responsibility of men towards their wives, and how to treat them with respect and dignity.
2. Local women centers need to educate women about their rights and their options to avoid physical and mental abuse.
3. Women must not be scapegoated every time in order to protect her name and her kids. We have seen the price of that!
4. Marriage between cousins or 2nd cousins must be brought to an end. The majority of marriages between relative end up carrying the strains of old blood between family members.
5. All those liars who claim to be magicians or practice voodoo must be exposed and sent to jail to rotten there, where they belong.

It is a stain on everyone of us to be talking about magicians and 7ojob and se7er and God knows what! Why do we calculate the percentage of illeteracy in Jordan or highschool graduation rates, whereas we are still consumed by these folks who walk among us? We have a million miles to walk, and aunt Reema has paid the ultimate sacrifice.

You will not die in vain, Aunt Reema.

We cried heavy tears over your tragic loss, but you are with your Maker now. May Allah rest your soul in peace. God knows how much you are and will be missed. The tears might dry up, but the heart is so heavy 😦

I miss you.

حسبي الله و نعم الوكيل