11-Year-Old Girl Speaks Out on Child Marriage (She’s Against It)

Nada Al-Ahdal is one of those children whose video should be heard as well as seen.

When you were 11 years old, would you have had the courage to run away from home and tell your parents you planned to kill yourself—all for a good cause? (Photo: Screen Grab)

Jul 23, 2013
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Kids, especially little girls, grow up fast in Yemen. It is not unheard of in Yemen for a child to become a married woman who has outlived a confining relationship and died in a despairing and defiant act of self-immolation by age 14.

In the video chastisement of her parents below, 11-year-old Yemeni girl Nada Al-Ahdal clearly articulates that in the semi-lawless territories of Yemen, the realities of families selling off their pre-adolescent daughters to men twice or three times the bride’s age is a human rights violation most vile.

Unlike arranged marriages when exercised by the royal courts of Europe, for many female children in so-called developing nations, these contracted unions are nothing short of death sentences.

Nada says she has fled the home of her parents because Mom and Dad had threatened to kill her if she refused to play the sacrificial maiden in a marriage they had set up for her.

Taking sanctuary in the house of her uncle, little Nada counters her parents’ death threat with a promise to commit suicide if she is forced to the connubial bed they have made for her.

More than five million people have viewed this confident, forceful and charismatic girl’s plea to protect common decency and the innocence of being a kid.

Nada Al-Ahdal’s dream of a childhood being guaranteed for Yemen’s children might come true if even 10 percent of that mass of concerned citizens would take a moment to contact Secretary of State John Kerry and demand that U.S. foreign policy money go to countries where women and girls have a chance.

Watching Nada’s video, do you think the millions of dollars in military aid funneled by the United States into the Yemeni government could have been better spent there? Say how or how not in COMMENTS.

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