Hasana's Story

November 4, 2008
By , Loma Linda, CA
My name is Hasana. My name means beautiful, but I don’t feel beautiful because I carry a scar upon my right eye. It reminds me of that day, when everything changed. My eyes cloud with tears every time I think of it.

It was a peaceful morning and I awoke with high spirits. It was my fifteenth birthday; quite a day for a celebration. First I dressed in my embroidered thobe and hijab, then I opened up the little container of makeup my best friend had given me. For the first time in my life I wore eye shadow, lip-gloss and mascara.

Towards midday my cousin Aaryan and I went into town. I walked ahead carrying the groceries and other things we had bought. He walked behind me carrying a big stick. He was in a pleasant mood so I expected him to tap my shoulder should I slow down or behave in an inappropriate manner.

As we strolled by the village shops, I became aware of the American convoys which paraded the crowded streets. The convoys were the color of the wilderness and they carried many soldiers atop them. The crowds pushed me close to one of those monstrous vehicles. At first I trembled and dared not look up. But slowly my eyes lifted.

What I saw was a handsome American solider. He wore a sand colored uniform. He held a gun. His hair was the color of ripe maize. His green eyes were bright like the full moon. He was aware of my presence. He looked down and winked. A smile formed upon my lips and he smiled back.

Suddenly I felt a sting upon my face. It was Aaryan’s stick. I didn’t cry out, I didn’t drop the things I carried. Only a single tear reached my cheek. I turned my face ever so slowly. Aaryan saw the black streak on my cheek. His face darkened in unspoken anger. He struck me again. This time an egg cracked on the hard street. My cousin let out a roar. He hit me again and again. With each strike I remembered every bit of unfairness in my short life.

One by one the things fell from my grasp. He only hit me harder. A mob gathered to watch. To them it was a normal occurrence. I heard the unthinkable from my own people. Some of it was laughter, some was scolding and cursing but most hurtful were the words coming from my own dear cousin. The soldiers jumped from the convoy. They pulled Aaryan away and the crowds scattered. I felt something running down my face. I felt dizzy and confused and suddenly everything went black. I can recall no more.

Now I am on the flight to freedom. As I fly over the continents I think about what has happened. I think maybe next time I visit my country I’ll wear a niqab or even a burka. But for now I wipe the tears away and smile; I’m on the flight to freedom!

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