By Tamjid al-Kohali
“I know that in this world, it is not only women who suffer; men also suffer for one reason or another. I know that, but I also have seen that men’s suffering is met with sympathy, empathy, compassion and understanding from all people, while women’s suffering is taken as something usual, normal, accepted, admissible, and guaranteed. And often the world believes that the woman is the reason behind her own pain.” This is a quote from Elham al-Oqabi’s new book, “Women Moan in Silence.”
In her book, Elham turns the silent moan of the Yemeni female into a loud shout by narrating true stories of the lives of Yemeni women.
The stories contain facts about varied forms of suffering undergone by Yemen’s women. Elham presents the reasons behind women’s suffering in a clear and simple way, showing that subjugation of women in Yemen is the result of family conditions, environment, custom and tradition, and societal pressures. All these reasons, she says, suggest that women are behind their own pain.
The book explains that Yemeni society is very harsh on its women. It even blames them for events they have no control over but are viewed as unfortunate by society, such as giving birth to a girl or having an unattractive face. The heroines of these stories embody the real life of Yemeni women, who don’t have the chance to make their own decisions in life or choose the places they live or work. Instead, they are forced to cope with the difficult circumstances in which life has placed them.
Many of these women are forced to succumb to their difficult circumstances, but this does not mean that these women are weak. Their silent cries for freedom, their quiet efforts to improve their circumstances, and their endless patience al demonstrate their immense power in a society without mercy.
This book emphasized that women’s tears are seen as just drops of water on their face; instead they are words, mixed with feelings not understood by others, that fall from their eyes.
Elham has been working for a wide range of media, press, and electronic news publications locally and international. Her passion for justice drew her very close to human rights and social issues. In this book, Elham was an immediate audience to the inaudible moan of Yemen’s women. The book contains eleven stories that, in fact, have no ending.