Baraa Melhem

I came across a story on the radio last night. It really shocked me. Baraa Melhem is a 21-year-old Palestinian girl, who has been imprisoned by his father and step-mother for 12 years and was recently released with the help of police. BBC interviewed her, partly because she said that she passed time while listening to BBC Arabic in the past years.  What shocked me is her answers to questions about her father. I was so shocked that I kept a note of what she said.

When asked about her feeling about her father, she said:

I love you Daddy. You shouldn’t have put me under such duress and humiliation, because I did not deserve for living like that. I wish that when you are released and when you are out again, you see me and you’ll hold your head up high.  I wish that I would be a graduate. You’ll be proud, like any father would.

When asked what subject she would like to study, she said:

I would like to study psychology, particularly dealing with suffering with this nature, because I understand what it feels like. I know pain. I know hurt. I would like to be able to treat patients psychologically and physically.

The host then asked why she does not hate his father.  She said:

I am surprised that you ask me this question. My flesh is his flesh. My blood is his blood.  He is my father after all. Even if you were to slaughter him, he is still my father. I cannot change that. He is my father. I cannot hold malice  on any human being, even if they hurt me. Because in the end, they have to live with it as themselves. What I wish to God is that he would come out to find the most beautiful daughter, because he has not only wronged me but wronged himself as a father.


the horrible and the miserable

Woody Allen said in Annie Hall,

I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.

As I said, I think of him often because I feel miserable…I decide not to make it horrible though.