Dear little Yazidi girl
My heart is filled with so much happiness because today I finally managed to write this letter to you. I saw you on CNN yesterday and my heart was immediately drawn to you. As you walked clutching a very small doll, I almost cried. You must be aware that the reason you are fleeing from home that there are some evil people who want to kill your family because you are different and you have different beliefs from them. Your little head and big heart must be bursting. Who would want to kill you? And as you trudge along with your mom gently nudging you to be faster you must sense her fear and IT all shows on your face . Everyone is tense, even grandma. She keeps telling you to move and doesn't smile as much as she used to do. "IT is because we don't pray the same that's why they want to kill us", was mama' s explanation. This bothers your young mind. The other day you saw grandma who lives up the hill praying in a way that is different from you but you didn't kill her. Actually you thought IT was interesting and joined in. You want to ask your mother why the people after you can't just join you in prayer. You want to reassure her they will like IT but mama has said not to speak nonsense. If only she could hear you out. You wander how anyone can be angered by another' s person’s action such as praying differently but you dare not ask. Also Wasn't IT this week your Mom told you are special. Then why does someone think you don’t deserve to live freely, young girl.
Yet you walk on. A journey even some adults would never dream of taking. But oh little courageous girl you soldier on. Yesterday night whilst at Mt Sinjar you were crying because you were thirsty and tired. You missed home and wanted to play. And mummy, instead of sitting you on her lap and soothing you told you to be quiet. You were hurt but had to swallow your tears. You know she loves you and as you take another step little girl, i urge you to be strong. You will succeed and fight this injustice. As you cross the border into Syria you must know worldwide women are fighting very similar battles to the ones you face. My dear girl i am not living in a desert or fleeing persecution but i'm not free to express myself or live as i would want. The presence of my mother’s voice telling me to be quiet overwhelms me. But little girl i feel an urge to play and to be free but in my battle i cant because i'm a woman.when i walk, the hungry, unabated and allowed eyes of men follow me. If i dress as i wish they jeer at me, if i don't they jeer at me. If i speak they tell me to be quiet, if i'm quiet they tell me to be quiet. Imagine! I'm called names and my dear, not only by those who feel a woman is a second class citizen but by my fellow women colleagues. So as i see you sharing the drink of water with fellow girls and women fleeing violence, i envision a future where i will also share a bottle of water with fellow women comrades as we speak with one voice, just as the world should speak with one voice against the violence being unleashed on you. The rights of women are being flouted but where are the rest of the women in other countries? Where is our voice speaking out against violence against women and children in Iraq. What hurts me as the report on CNN ends is i have done nothing for you. And today i'm using the internet to write you a letter and hope this will inspire women worldwide to be more aware of your situation and speak out against it and other different situations affecting women worldwide.
As i pen off i say well done little girl. You are very close to my heart and i feel like i have known you all my life. I feel you exist here with me because you are me and your experiences are mine. I now know you are safe now because I saw you crossing the border and i pray that you will be able to go back home soon and live in world where you are free to worship as you wish and do not face discrimination at all. A world where your childishly thoughts are fulfilled and we tolerate and love one another for our differences.
All my love
Pela Your mother, sister, friend, cousin in Zimbabwe.Emagazine: Bridging Borders