I stare out of the window at the sky which looks like it is on fire. I have never seen anything like it before and I linger for a little while, forgetting for a brief moment my daily struggle to feed three young children and my sick husband. I push all thoughts of my brothers and their families who are currently enjoying themselves in Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast. I suppress the bitterness and anger that struggle to rise to the surface as I try not to think about them using my inheritance money for their vacation.
My brothers pressured me to give up my small inheritance entirely. I could do with that money right now. They’re spending it on travel while I’m stuck here, taking care of my family. I should be relaxing on a beach somewhere. Everyday, I get up, cook, clean, and whatever needs to be done in this house, no matter how tired I am. My brothers don’t care about me.
Until things change in this country, women like me are going to continue to feel helpless and bitter because of gender inequality in inheritance. Whereas daughters inherit half of the estate, sons inherit twice as much. I inherited half because I’m a sole daughter. Had I sisters, collectively, we would each inherit two thirds. That hardly seems fair. When are things going to change? When is there going to be gender equality in inheritance?
I hear the baby crying. I wish I could spend a longer time watching the sunrise but duty calls. I turn and after going over to the bed to check on my husband, I leave the room to tend to our daughter. I hope that by the time she becomes an adult that there will finally be a change where she will be granted equal inheritance rights.
This story was inspired by an article I read. In Tunisia, there is a law which limits daughters’ inheritance rights and provides that sons inherit twice as much as daughters. Equality Now is taking action to change this.
This was written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. For more details click here.
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps – Proverbs 16:9
Have you ever made plans without consulting God first? You decide that you are going to go into missionary work because you saw a program on TV or know someone who is in the mission field but have you asked yourself if that is what God wants you to do? He might want you to be a missionary where you work or where you live instead of you going off to another country.
You might be planning to quit your job and move to another city or country but is that what God wants? What if He wants you to stay put because He has plans for you? You may be planning to get married but what if God wants you to wait? What if the timing is not right? OR what if the person you want to marry is not the right person? How many people could have avoided heartache, unhappiness, failed marriages if they had only waited on the Lord.
Let the Lord direct your steps. If you have plans, share them with Him. You may or may not have His blessing but either way you will be much better off than if you were to go ahead and follow your own plans instead of waiting on Him to give you direction.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard that President Donald Trump cancelled his trip to a cemetery for “Americans killed in World War I, the White House citing bad weather that grounded his helicopter.” He had been scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, located adjacent to Belleau Wood and about 100 kilometres northeast of Paris. It is a site of great importance to the US military.
The cancelled trip drew sharp criticisms from those who felt that the president should have found a way to get to Aisne-Marne, regardless of the weather. Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser for President Barack Obama, accused Trump of “blowing off honouring American servicemen who died for us”
I agree with Mr. Rhodes. Those soldiers braved snow, heat, rain and all sorts of conditions while they were fighting for freedom and serving their country. Weren’t they worth the trip?
President Justin Trudeau visited the Vimy Ridge War Memorial in France and laid a wreath in honour for those who have served. According to Global News, “Young, fresh-faced Canada sent 424,000 men overseas to fight in the First World War and nearly 61,000 of them were killed on foreign soil, far, far, far away from their homes in their 50-year-old country. Those Canadians rest now in cemeteries all over Europe and their sacrifice helped forge a nation.”
This Remembrance Day marks the 100th anniversary of World War I and leaders like Trudeau, British Prime Minister Teresa May, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and U.S. President Donald Trump were invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to join him and more than 70 other world leaders in Paris for a special Armistice Day service Sunday, followed by a Peace Forum, where the leaders will discuss issues of international security.
For Trump not to go to the cemetery because of the weather is not only international embarrassment but a disgrace to the men who sacrificed their lives. They deserve better. They deserve a leader who would not allow anything to prevent him from visiting their memorial and laying down a wreath in their honor. This was an international disgrace that may not soon be forgotten.
The painting was almost complete. He just had to add a few touches. Painting landscapes was never his thing but he had been forced to paint them since…He tossed the paintbrush down and got up. He walked over to the window and stared out into the street below. It was quiet now. It was Sunday. Almost everyone was in church. He had stopped attending Sunday mass three years ago. He had stopped doing a lot of things three years ago. Three years ago she had stood right there by the door, ready to removed her coat when her cell rang. He had no idea who called her but after she ended the call, she grabbed her knapsack and said, “I have to go but I will be back later,” before she pulled open the door and rushed out.
He waited all day for her to return or to call but neither was forthcoming. Three years later and she hadn’t returned. He had no idea where she was. Maybe she went back to her home in Benin. She was the reason why he stopped painting people and started painting landscapes. He had broken his own rule of never mixing business with pleasure. She was supposed to be his muse–that was all. He had painted hundreds of women before and not once did any of them stir any passions in him. He was immune to them. To him there were just muses.
Then, he met her one day at the gallery where his work was on display. She was eighteen at the time. Her youth was so refreshing. She wasn’t beautiful or even pretty and her eyes seemed too large for her small face but she intrigued him. He wanted to paint her right then and there. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that she was going to be his next muse. After they left the gallery, he took her for a cappuccino. She was a bit hesitant at first although she was flattered that he wanted to paint her but he was very persuasive.
She turned out to be the perfect muse, inspiring him to produce his best work. He churned out painting after painting. She sat there day after day, still as a statue. He supposed that it was gradual but one day he realized that he that he had fallen for her–of all he foolhardy things to do. He was twice her age, for pity’s sake. He thought of finding another muse to replace her but he couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing her again. She had brought light and joy into his otherwise dull existence. Life without her would be intolerable. He didn’t replace her but it became increasingly hard to paint because he couldn’t concentrate. Instead of painting her, he wanted to take her in his arms and…
He leaned forward, his palms flat on the window seat, his tortured gaze scanned the horizon. She was out there somewhere. His life was empty. There was a great big chasm and his heart ached every time he remembered how she had literally run out of his life. He never got another muse. No one could replace her. Oh, Johari, my inspiration, my grand passion, my torment.
He heard a sound behind him and turned. His face became ashen when he saw her standing there. If she didn’t blink, he would have imagined that she was an illusion. All sorts of emotions churned inside him. His hands curled into tight fists as he tried to hold them in check. Part of him wanted to take her in his arms and lavish her with kisses while the other part wanted to lash out at her for the misery she had put him through.
“I came back, Adriel,” she said, moving closer.
He didn’t budge. “Yes, three years later. Where have you been all this time?”
“I’ve been in Benin. That day when I was here with you, I got a call from an uncle that my father had fallen ill and that I was needed home right away. I got the first flight out of London. I helped my mother to look after him until he recovered. My mother asked me to stay until she could afford to hire a private nurse. I tried calling you but there wasn’t any answer. I think your cell was off. I wrote to you while I was in Benin but you never answered. Adriel, you must know that only a family emergency would make me leave you. All the time I was away, I thought about you and missed you. I wondered why you didn’t write me. I thought you were out of the country or busy with gallery showings or—that you had met someone.”
He quickly closed the distance between them. “I’ve been here all this time,” he told her. “Missing you and wondering where you were. I had my phone turned off and I never received any of your letters.”
“So, there isn’t another woman…?”
He shook his head vigorously. “No!” Groaning, he reached for her and pulled her into his arms. “I couldn’t be with anyone else even if I wanted to. I love you, Johari.” He covered her face with kisses, unable to help himself.
She hugged him tightly about his waist and murmured, “I love you too.”
They stood there in the sun-dappled room locked in a passionate embrace. He stopped painting for a long while and he no longer had any need for a muse. They got married in a quiet ceremony in Saint–Paul–de–Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. When he returned to painting, he did portraits while Johari worked in a museum which featured his work.
The magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains and surrounding beautiful landscape which usually filled Asya with peace failed to do so this morning. There was political uncertainty in Sweden as the anti-immigrant party made historic gains in Sunday’s election. There was talk of refugees and immigrants being sent back to their countries by those who had no regard for what awaited them. She knew firsthand what it was like to be torn from the country of refuge and returned to your country of origin.
At the age of 15, her parents took her back to Turkey after she finished ninth grade to marry a man 20 years her senior. They had three children. Those were the worst years of her life and she dreamed of returning to Sweden. Fifteen years later, after her husband died in a work related accident, she returned to Stockholm with the children.
It was a shock for her when she recently saw the brochure offering tips to those who were married to children. Enraged, she wrote an article on the horrors of child marriage, her own experience and why Sweden needed to be very clear that it wouldn’t tolerate such a practice. It needed to protect the welfare of its immigrant population and stop worrying about being culturally insensitive.
It was a two page article in which she concluded, “I urge you to think about Beeta, the teenage girl who was murdered by her husband after they arrived here from Iran. If we hadn’t been so concerned with offending a culture which fosters a practice which, in my opinion, is criminal, she may still be alive. Instead of being concerned with the culture, protect the individual. We need to be more responsible for the immigrants whom we let into the country and afford them the same rights and protection regardless of whether or not they are ethically Swedish.” Her article was published in Stockholm News and was very well received. Many shared her views and Twitter went viral, calling for the government to do something to end child marriage in a country known for its commitment to child welfare.
Asya turned now to look at the shelter she ran for victims of honor-based violence and oppression. Most of them were the same ages as her daughters. She determined that she would continue to fight for them and those who weren’t in her care. Unlike the politicians and the government, she was going to be morally sensitive to the victims of forced marriages and speak out because as long as child marriage exists it will stand in the way of gender equality. She had to do this for Beeta and others like her.
Marriage is for adults, not for children. Children have the right to be children.
This story is based on true events. Sweden struggles over child marriage and many are calling for the rights of children of foreign backgrounds to be protected.
“Where did you get these strange plants from?” Wei asked.
Sue tried not to panic. “They are gifts.” Why does Wei have to be so nosy? And why is she here instead of at the market?
“Who gave them to you?”
“A friend, I think. I don’t remember.”
“You don’t remember who gave you these ugly plants?” Wei sounded skeptical.
“Wei, aren’t you going to the market?”
“Oh, yes. I’d better leave now.” She scurried off.
Once the coast was clear, Sue went over to the plants and removed the Bibles. It was time to find new hiding places.
This story was inspired by an article I read about China shutting down churches and seizing Bibles in an “ambitious new effort to lessen or even eradicate the influence of Christianity and religion from the country”. So far, the government has shut down hundreds of Christian house churches.
According to Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, “Xi is a closet Maoist—he is very anxious about thought control. He definitely does not want people to be faithful members of the church because then people would profess their allegiance to the church rather than to the party, or more exactly to Xi himself.” Faithful Christians would rather obey God than men and will do so even if it costs them their lives.
This was written for the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. For more details, visit Here. To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.