She doesn’t remember since when she has been here. Time is erased from her memory. From a honey-colored mid-afternoon to eternal darkness…There is a humming in her head, her body is exhausted but that invisible fist that sticks in her throat isn’t there. An emptiness, just a huge emptiness is growing in her soul.
She hears the door is being unlocked; two consecutive metal clinks, like a couple of words said timidly. Her eyes are opening gravely. The morning light creeping in through the stable’s opening door is snuggling by her bare feet like a helping hand. But it doesn’t last long, these two shadows are covering the light. She quietly starts moving in the corner where she curled up. The parts where her father and brother hit…There’s something on her upper-lips; something like a shell. She touches, blood: her own dried blood.
Her brother saying “Father, look, look” is breaking the silence. “Look, she starts moving. Hatun is awake”.
“Don’t call her Hatun”, her father says. “Hatun is the name of your grandmother. Your grandmother was a moral woman. She undeserved the name of that blessed woman”.
“She undeserved”, echoes her brother. “She undeserved..This one came out defected”.
He is trying to imitate his father’s voice but his efforts are futile. He cannot be that full of hatred. Maybe his father doesn’t want to belabor since he noticed this. What if this ninny boy becomes merciful and changes his mind…
“She came out defected…”, he says with grudge. “Let’s get this over with”.
These words don’t scare the girl at all. She knows what will happen to her. She waits without moving. She hears footsteps of her brother walking unsurely on the dirt surface. She doesn’t care. A memory falls into her mind. A wooden, fancy cradle. A blonde guy in the cradle, he is just three months old. A boy who is scrawny, always sick, always crying. She is five years old, shaking the cradle of the blonde boy to calm down the crying boy. But the child keeps crying. Her mother enters.
“What have you done to the boy? Why did you wake him up?”, her mother shouts.
“I haven’t done anything mom. He just woke up by himself, and he started wailing when he woke up”.
Her mother doesn’t believe, she pinches her. She screams and moves away, hiding in darkness. She silently cries in the darkness.
Her brother saying “Hand me the knife so we’ll get over it” scatters the memory. She is looking at her father’s hand. She is remaining in the shadow but even if she cannot see, she knows very well about the blade, which will claim her life now. It is the knife they use in eid al-adha. It is sharpened a day before the feast not to torture the sacrifice because it is a sing. “You have to claim the animal’s life with one blow”. Did they sharpen the knife last night too? If they did, what did her mother say? She always got worried ahead of the feast. Is it now ahead of the feast?
“Hold the haft tight”, her father says as he hands the knife to her brother. “Otherwise, you will cut yourself”.
A small lamb appears before her eyes. A ball of wool like snow, there is blackness only on its forehead and rear foot. Its eyes are fawn, color of rock. The lamb’s name is Muslu. His blonde brother has now grown, Hatun is now raising Muslu like her doll, her own child. Until a day when her brother and father cut it on a day of eid al-adha. She recalls what her father told her brother who was holding Muslu as she was in the room where she locked herself not to see.
“Hold the lamb’s head tight or you will cut yourself”.
A sad tear is flowing into her eyes as she recalled Muslu. She remembers a redness. Muslu’s brown eyes are looking as surprised in a way like asking why have you murdered me. Her father’s blooded fingerprints on its white fur. Her tears are silently running down through her cheek.
“Why have you stopped?”, her father asks her brother. “Are you afraid or what?”
She half-opens her eyes and looks at frail body of her brother; the knife in the child’s hand looks like an organ that doesn’t belong to him. Her father is one step behind him.
“You will save restore our family’s honor”, he encourages him. “It is also a good deed in the eyes of Allah. She committed sin, disgraced our family to whole village. As her brother, dealing with this is your responsibility. Come on, don’t stand like that. Wipe this black mark”.
“I will”, says her bother. “I will”.
He comes closer, is raising the knife. They catch each other’s eyes at that moment. His determination breaks when he sees his elder sister’s eyes looking without fear. He cannot lower the knife he raised. The murder weapon remains hung like that in the air.
He gets angrier for not being able to deal the blow, kicks his elder sister.
“Turn around girl…”, he shouts. “I tell you to turn around, turn around…”
He thinks that if he doesn’t see her face, if their eyes don’t catch each other, he will murder more easily.
The girl tries to make things easier for her brother. Hasn’t it always been like that during her life? Wasn’t the reason for her existence to serve this boy? “I’ll be saved too in this way”, she considers. This torture will be over but her father’s words stop her.
“Do not call her girl,” yells the man, “Her name is bitch.”
These words hurt her more than the kick of her brother. More than the punches, slaps and kicks that she has been suffering from since yesterday...
“Bitch,” repeats her brother, “The girl is a bitch, I am telling you, turn around…”
The girl does not turn around, she stands up by gathering all her remaining strength. Just like that, at the most unforeseen, the most unexpected moment. She stands against them all of a sudden. She feels neither pain, nor fear anymore.
“My name is Hatun”, she says courageously. “My name is not bitch.”
Two men step back bewilderedly. Her brother continues grumbling in a hesitant voice.
“You, you are a bitch, a bitch is what you are…”
He walks up to her sister.
“I am not a bitch, my name is Hatun.”
Her brother shrinks in the face of her, he gets broken into pieces. Her father tries to pull him together.
“Just stick the knife into her, stick it, do not let this bitch speak.”
“Do not call me bitch,” yells Hatun. Surprised at what she is doing, she reaches out and snaps the knife from her brother’s hand. “Do not call me bitch.”
“Bitch…” her brother opens his mouth to speak. “Bit…”
She looks at her brother in the eye, Hatun is so close to stab him with the knife. She remembers the boy with blonde hair. He is a boy who is always feeble, always sick, always crying. She feels mercy, she does not stab him. Her brother is already trembling with fear in front of her.
But her father is about to boil with rage.
“I thought you were a man,” scolds he her brother. He walks up to his daughter himself. “Give me that knife. Give it to me, you dirty bitch.”
The girl looks at her father. She does not remember the last time when he said sweet words to her, when he touched her with love.
“Give me that knife, bitch,” roars the man. “Give that to me now.”
“Take it!” says the girl. “Take!”
With all her strength, with all her rage, she stabs his father in the chest. The man’s mouth falls open, more with surprise than with pain. He looks with bewilderment as if he could not comprehend that his daughter could do such a thing. But the rage of the girl does not subside, she continues to stab her father until he falls to the ground, until she can make the hate in his eyes disappear.
“Take it, take, take, take…”
When she stands up from her father, she feels a great relief. She throws the knife from her hand. Without bothering about her brother, who is ghastly watching what has been happening from the dark corner where he is hiding, she looks at the daylight that cannot be stained by the two shadows.
The wind outside calls her; like a sweet whisper, like a compassionate touch. Hatun walks to the wind calling her. She comes across her mother at the door of the house. The poor woman utters a scream and falls to the ground. The village wakes up with her scream. One by one open the doors and windows. She goes to the village square without bothering about the curious eyes of those looking from the opening doors and windows. She stops when she reaches the mosque.
“My name is not bitch,” she screams. “My name is Hatun! My name is Hatun!”
Whispers turn to voices, voices turn to outcries, but it does not make any difference anymore. She walks, she walks towards the source of the wind, towards a new possibility, she walks until the point where the village ends and the abyss starts.
The wind rises where the abyss starts. It brings the scent of the dried herbs and wildflowers from the mountains. Then comes such a moment when Hatun wants to become a wind herself. She wants to blend in with the flowers and herbs whose scents she smells and with the insects and mountains. She now wants to be a part of this endless wilderness, not a part of humans. She jumps from the abyss with her hands spread. She does not even remember the moment when she hits the hard ground, because while she is falling down, she thinks that the compassionate wind is embracing her and taking her to another world, to a peaceful place. (AÜ/APA/TK/SD)
52 MEN 52 WEEKS
"This campaign has been produced as part of Sivil Düşün EU Programme, with the support of European Union. The contents of this campaign are the sole responsibility of IPS Communication Foundation/ bianet and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
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