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Fatiha Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Fa Sy, United States Oct 26, 2005
Child & Youth Rights , Culture   Short Stories
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She is six years old and loves to listen to stories on the moonlight. Pure and innocent daughter of the Sahel, she loves to play with her friends during her evenings and help milk the cows in the morning. Knee high, the only type of life she knows is happy-go-lucky. Fatiha was her given name in remembrance of Arabs who came to visit her land years ago and with whom her dad has kept a friendly and strong bond. Her skin, shiny and light was common to the Peulh girls and some say explains the beauty and delicacy of her features.

Very traditional, the Peulhs are fond of milk and dry meat. Nomad by nature, they move where the water is very mild to their herd. This is how, at the age of six, Fatiha has lived in different places. The landscape was never different only the inhabitants were. The landscape was always similar, every point reminding the visitor of the one he just left. On that land, bonds and relationships never lasted. Sometimes right after meeting somebody, they realize that they have to go on their separate ways. People are leaving on a daily basis and wishing each other good luck and saying to each other: 'May Allah guides you'. Most times, they hope that destiny would reunite them somehow, somewhere, some day in a similar place, an identical landscape.

It was during one of the numerous trips that Fatiha met Mounir. Mounir was eight years old but he was already thinking of himself as the head of his family. Because he was the eldest of his siblings and the only boy, he held a lot of responsibilities. Every morning, he milked his cows and on this morning he was walking his flock near Fatiha's. Very quickly, they became inseparable. A strong bond grew between them and they made promises to each other while their only witnesses were cows whose only worry was where to find a greener grass. Despite their youth the two of them thought they knew everything they needed to know about love and swore faithfulness to each other. They exchanged rings, made by themselves and were secretly engaged. They kept their secret from everybody, not wanting to share those stolen moments of happiness.

As inevitable as it was, three months later, Mounir's parents thought that the grass was greener in the east and decided to migrate east while Fatiha's parents decided to go west. Fatiha and Mounir had to go their separate ways. Fatiha watched as Mounir and his parents went east. Just the day before, they swore their love to each other and promised that they will reunite one day when they were older. They planned to then get married and have lots of children, hundreds of children.

Fatiha was a girl of the Desert and like most girls of the Desert, she was used to leaving loved ones behind. However, there are some people who come into our life and make us feel so unique, people with who we have so much in common, people who change our life from day to night, and people that we just love unconditionally that losing them completely breaks our heart.

Fatiha was only six years old but she cried as though she had never cried before. She cried for the loss of her friend, the loss of her fiancé and the loss of her confident. Tired of crying, the thought that one day she would meet her lover again made her feel better. After that day, Fatiha smiled less. Each night, she would look at the stars on the sky and think that wherever he was, Mounir was seeing the same sky and the same stars. Every night, she blew kisses to the wind and begged the desert wind to bring them to Mounir.

From where he was, Mounir was feeling the wind and reminiscing the days he spent with Fatiha. Every day, the wind blew kisses to him, soft and sweet.

One day, Fatiha woke up in the middle of the night and saw her mother next to her. She told her “Get up Fatiha, we've gotta go”.
Years later, when she thought about that night, she told to herself that it would have been better to just run. But because we do not know the meaning of things unless they happen, at the moment they’re happening, destiny makes itself. It is in those moments, that without knowing it. Our destiny is shaped because we all have appointments with our destiny.

That night, Fatiha followed her mother and they went to a hut around the camp. Without knowing it, she had an appointment with destiny. Inside the hut was a very old woman with no teeth. A long scarf was covering her head from her hair to her shoulders and of her face, only her eyes were visible. Big, round, red, scary, sharp, her eyes were similar to those of an owl. With her wrinkled and shriveled skin, the old lady looked like an ugly, shapeless portrait compared to Fatiha's beauty and youthfulness.
Fatiha's mum and the old lady exchanged elusive words and Fatiha's mother asked her to get undressed and lay down. Fatiha didn’t know it yet, but she has just encountered the Exciser, the one who genitally mutilates young girls, the nightmare of every young girl and the killer of womanhood. The old woman had in her hands a blade that still carried blood spots. She looked at Fatiha with her owl eyes, a big smile on her face. Her toothless mouth was enraptured, widely opened and gave an image of a black hole. At that point, Fatiha got scarred and ran behind her mother. The mother put her down and put a piece of wood in her mouth. The old lady opened Fatiha's legs and Fatiha struggled violently. However, with a strength that was surprising due to her old age, the old lady kept Fatiha on the floor. Fatiha heard the noise of the blade between her legs. She felt the pain of the human flesh being cut. The blade was going up and down depriving her of her womanhood. A stream of blood was flowing between her legs. She wanted to scream her lungs out but not a noise came out of her mouth. Then it was a complete blackout, Fatiha passed out.

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