She walked down the side street pausing to look at the items for sale along the merchant’s row. The wind blew her hair from under her headscarf and she absentmindedly tucked it back in place as her eyes flitted from this product to that. She could smell the sweet smell of bread that has been recently taken from the ovens and placed too cool in the open window. The aroma carried by the puffs of wind that brushed coolly across her face reminded her of her birthday just a few weeks away where her family would gather with food and wine to celebrate her special day as they had so many times before. The happy thought chilled her with excitement and goose bumps she could feel rise from her skin. She hurried along now to the market for her shopping errands for her mother had been delayed long enough. She weaved effortlessly between those who walked from every direction on the busy street. She crossed over the street to the market when she heard a vehicle screech to a quick stop behind her kicking up a cloud of dust. She saw the truck with several men with rifles that were jumping down from the carrier portion of the vehicle. Immediately she became frightened from times before when she had witnessed arrests on the street but she pointed her head back in the direction she was walking deciding she had seen enough to alarm her already. She remembered that her mother had told her that she…a hand tightened around her arm at the elbow and she felt her body being pulled behind her causing her to lose her balance when her other arm was grasped as she let out a scream and then shouted “Let me go! What are you doing to me? She lifted her eyes and shook the hair away from them that had fallen again out of her head covering to see that this was a soldier who had laid hands on her. Again, she shouted “Why are you touching me? Set me free! She began to resist the hold of the two men whom had captured her. She was dragged without an answer to the truck and forcefully placed inside it. She felt hot tears rolling down her face and felt many emotions of fear, embarrassment and shame from the treatment she was receiving. She began again to protest but felt a quick sharp pain across her face and the dizziness that accompanied it before she realized she had been slapped hard by the soldier whom sat next to her by the vehicles door. She felt the bumping of the tires on the road and the surge of her body movements as the truck took many turns towards a destination that was unknown to her. She began to feel deep fear in the pit of her stomach as she cried out for her Papa under her breath that was quick and broken with her softly crying sobs. As quickly as her trip began it ended next to the roadway entrance to the Mosque where a crown of people had gathered. Her heart jumped when she saw amongst the throng her uncle, her Mothers brother and several other family members she recognized before again hands were pulling on her and dragging her out of the truck but hope had entered her heart since she had seen Raja in her midst. Loud shouting occurred instantly as she felt the warmth of the sun while being dragged from the street to the common area before the Mosque. Words, she understood a few of the words which were being shouted as she herself screamed “Uncle, Uncle Raja help me Uncle!” She heard the names being shouted at her, Whore, unclean, sinner, defiled. Again, she felt another hard pain with dizziness and the taste of blood in her mouth and upon her lips. She could feel a tooth jutting inward against her tongue. She wept loudly now as she knew her tooth was broken and her lips split open. Blood and saliva dripped freely from her open mouth as she gasped for air to fill her burning lungs. She felt herself being bound by rope around her shoulders then the pain from her behind as she was set forcefully upon the sand. Raja, Papa! She shouted as she lifted her eyes and saw other members of her family and her breath caught as she noticed her mother clutching at the Imam begging him for mercy for her only daughter. She felt her blood run cold with horror as she finally understood what was taking place. Quickly her breath that was being held blew outward with her as she exhaled carrying a stream of blood from her mouth that was caught on the wind and carried behind her. She sat with eyes wide open as men grabbed her yet again and pulled her to a deep hole which had previously been dug in the sand. She continued to watch her mother plead but could no longer hear supplications or the loud jeer of those who walked in her midst as they collected stones from the ground. She turned her head and again saw Raja, her uncle whom reached down himself to collect a rock she would soon feel crash against her body thrown from his hands. She recalled at just that moment the times of laughter, the games she played with him, climbing his back to ride like a Donkey near her home. She felt her feet and legs descend into the narrow hole. Sand and dirt was being tossed from shovels around her body into the hole. She breathed deeply and inhaled sand which caused her to have a fit of coughing. The breathing at once became labored as the sand around her stomach was pressing against her stomach. She tried to see through the tossed sand for another glimpse of her mother but could no longer find her. Was she disoriented? Did they carry her mother away? She had these thoughts as she struggled to suck air into her lungs to scream for her Papa and Mama but not enough air to strengthen her lungs to shout. Her lips moved as she again could hear but only loud noises of screams and shouts. She no longer listened for words. There would be no words to comfort her as she….the pain was blinding as she felt her head thrown backwards from the impact of a heavy stone and her head bounced forward again as her breast was struck, again her head was hit this time from the side with a smaller stone. She felt the hot stream of blood trickle somewhere below her once beautiful hair as pain exploded upon her shoulder. Her eyes pressed tightly as multiples of rocks struck her head, back, shoulder, ribs and neck, each bringing brilliant bursts of pain. She felt more teeth inside her mouth as she tried to spit them out but instead swallowed them. She felt very sleepy and the pain didn’t seem to feel as strongly before. She only felt Just the jolting of her body being moved by the impact of the stones, so many stones. She felt the coolness of the wind again this time caused by the wetness of her bloody face and her thoughts again turned to her Birthday. It will only be a few weeks away…family will…all…be..there….
I heard this story of a young teenaged woman who was accused of a moral crime under the Islamic Sharia Law in which she was not given a trial nor did she have the right to face her accusers or even to beg mercy from the Imam who condemned her. Members of her family participated in this brutal and torturous execution. The above account is only from my own imagination but sadly executions of women in the Muslim world take place in like manner as this story illustrates.