Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z Microfiction: Y is for Yemen

Today we're visiting the Middle Eastern state of Yemen. It is almost impossible to write fiction set in this country without touching on serious issues - women's rights, access to health care, development. I've tried to keep my microfiction as light as I can this month, but today I'm not sure I can avoid issues.

Yemen

Naaz felt Aadil squeeze her hand. "Hello," he said. "This is my wife, Naaz. We are here for her driving lesson."
The man at the desk nodded. "Wait here, please." He disappeared behind a door.
Naaz was glad Aadil had spoken first - she was just too nervous. She had been afraid that the man would ask why they had crossed the border to Yemen, where she could legally drive. She didn't want to have to blurt out the whole story about her ailing mother-in-law, how Aadil's job took him away from home so much, how she was afraid her mother-in-law would fall ill one night and have no one to get her to hospital. It would be a risk, driving at home - an enormous risk. But she would feel safer somehow if she could.
And who knew? Maybe one day she would be allowed to drive at home. And she would be ready.

The rest of my A-Z flash fiction can be found by clicking the tag under this post. Thanks for visiting!

10 comments:

  1. I knew women had many restrictions placed upon them but didn't realise learning to drive was one of them.

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    1. In Saudi Arabia, it's not legal for women to drive, but it is in Yemen (the flip side is that female literacy rates are much lower in Yemen, and access to healthcare is poorer, so Yemen is far from a liberalist paradise). This story was inspired by the sheer number of Muslim women I see driving in Ireland, with their husbands in the passenger seat. I often wonder how many of them come from countries where it isn't legal.

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  2. i never knew about the driving restriction!

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    1. I have only heard of it in Saudi Arabia. There may be other countries with similar laws but Saudi is the only one I'm aware of. As I said to Sally, it's legal in Yemen but women in Yemen are still a long way from enjoying human rights.

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  3. I really like this one because it touchs on how restricted someone is if they are denied access to driving! It seems like a law forbidding women from driving would not seriously physically harm someone compared to something like stoning but if a carer needs a car and they have to search for the nearest male relative then that law could become the differnce between life and death for the person they are looking after.

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    1. Yeah, exactly - I took this angle because that's a big part of the reason I learned to drive. My mum is widowed and there just won't always be a convenient relative to drive her to hospital appointments or to be there in an emergency. That said, my mother is healthier than I am and plans to live for another 40 years. . . :) but it did make me wonder about women who just didn't have that option.

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  4. Yemen. We don't realize how lucky we are in a country where women almost have equal rights. It takes a little story like this to bring the picture to our minds.


    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

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  5. Yemen's not the sort of country on any top ten tourism list. Though for women, at least unlike over the border in Saudi they do have some priveleges. A long way to go though....

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  6. Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.

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