A Time to Remember

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Sometimes we have to forget our own imperfections and step back from the inconsistencies in our own lives to see the oppression and sufferings others are up against. For me, this is something I consistently wrestle with. The obstacles that I face are usually minuscule compared to the hardships people all across the world are going through, yet I can’t turn my focus away from my pitiful “problems”. Problems that make me feel ignorant when I read about the hardships that the people in Morocco are facing. While I am over here complaining about my lactose intolerance and dying for a taste of ice cream, people in Morocco are dying for a taste of freedom. To see the injustices the people of Morocco are experiencing quickly puts my own life into perspective.

After reading Performing Democracy in Iraq and South Africa, I was struck by Fadwa Laroui’s devastating story. As a single mother in Morocco, Fadwa is treated unjustly due to the fact that she does not have a husband and in result she suffers financially to provide for her two young children on her own. In search of some hope and financial relief, Fadwa and her father planned a multifamily development to provide housing for poor families but since Fadwa was a single mother, morocco poorshe was not considered head of the household and therefore denied access to the development. In result, the land they intended to help the poor was taken by the wealthy which ultimately sparked Fadwa’s unique protest. Her protest to show the poor aren’t being helped and their needs are not being met.

Dr. Segall states, “When performing protest, bodies are political” (211). This is exactly what Fadwa uses her body for when she risks her life in desperation for her story to be heard. Desperate for political change, she lites her body on fire in front of city hall for all to see. In this act of complete sacrificial protest, Fadwa gains back control of her life. The power and freedom that the Moroccan government had stripped her from is displayed in the moment of her public suicide. She gains control over her destiny.

After reading her story, I have realized the importance of listening. Listening to a people want changesingle person’s story even if it may contain pain and sorrow. And allowing myself to let go of whatever I may be caught up in my own life in order to cry and lament or rejoice and celebrate when necessary with that person. Whatever the occasion, I want to be able to let go of my own struggles for just a moment and acknowledge the deep issues taking place in another’s life.

Fadwa was rejected the simple right to have a safe place for her family to live, something we all take for granted in America. The frustration and anguish that Fadwa experienced is unfathomable to me but I know the least I can do is listen and share her story. Her story makes me wonder what would have happened if someone was willing to stand with Fadwa and listen to her. If someone was willing to care enough for this woman’s life the moment she stood in front of town hall ready to lite the match, maybe she would still be on this earth. Maybe something would have been different.

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