Grain Of Salt: Naeem

Grain Of Salt: Naeem

A story on captivity, torture, and internal trauma.
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NAEEM

An infinity of love,

An infinity of grace,

An infinity of pain,

An infinity shaped like 2 chains.

Mother used to always mutter this.

Like a verse that helped her keep her sanity, a verse of hope, a verse of reason; I never really understood what that meant until...

To be born a girl is the worst thing that could happen to you.

I overheard them say this to Nadia the person standing two feet away from me.

The only difference between a girl and a boy, I remember mummy say, was that a girl had two private, always closed parts--up and down, and the boys had two too--down physically and one metaphysically--their ego. Both of which are never hidden sadly. They dangle it to continuously prove that difference.

But why mummy? Why them and not us? Why do they do it?.......

At the tender age of 15 not only was this physically proved over and over again but I was made a participant as well. Mummy didn't prepare me for this. I might as well save you the grace of them not ripping the identity I give you as you will invariably take on the identity they give you of being nothing more than a girl. What you don't have in the 1st place they can't take. I can protect you to that extent.

But physically I'm helpless. She said all this with a straight face, showing nothing more than resilience.

Nothing more than a girl? But mummy you already told me that we are better than boys as we have greater control and power over ourselves and don't seek it externally to be proven to us on a continuous basis like those, what was the word she used? ah yes! Nycompoops.

Ever since daddy left us to join a cause of the greater good and getting a better seat at the hand of "God", mummy got even stronger. He was basically protecting himself, coward! These tiny snippets of wisdom keep coming back to me as "they" hose us down, yet again to prepare us as they keep shouting. None of the girls around me know what that entails and resort to crying to keep them company and give them a kind of shelter, but my mind doesn't stop whirring around the what of it all. Mummy had definitely included it in one of her talks.

A new/fresh batch was brought in today. There were 40 this time. The batch keeps getting bigger and bigger and the room more jammed making no room for the physical. The men in black trash-can clothes give us the command to strip, hose us down, scream long live God, throw morsels of food at us and leave us in the dark as we fight for whatever tiny bits of life we can grab, like ravenous ravens. Yet again!

Day 5. Either my time hadn't come or I was a log for the common pyre to burn harder and brighter to send a strong message to the “non-believers”. The stubborn. But not until your purpose is fulfilled they kept reassuring us with the smug grin of a trained assassin.

We were SPECIAL they told us, every aspect our physicality having meaning. Hair to be used as a handle, our faces beautiful to remind the perpetrators that what they were doing in the form of rape/child bearing was a beautiful thing for the larger purpose of breeding a new generation of militants. And our bodies devoid of souls that we gave unto them for the greater good of purifying their land. We were the catalysts they kept reminding us, as they threw us out to either bleed to death or cry to death or even starve to death as we were crumpled like tissue papers after they wiped themselves on us.

Coming from a small town in Iraq-Silcus, I was named Naeem by my parents as an anti-symbol of turmoil, struggle and war surrounding us always, even as the greatest struggle stared them in the face over and over again—I was a girl. And girls more or less had the same path laid out for them even before they were born, to be Khums—tax money, if the family ever wanted to live with the peace of knowing that they would be kept alive and they should be glad as there is no greater purpose in this world than to be a vessel of pleasure unto God and His loyal “sons”. And my mother took a combat to this line of thought by raising me in strict Yazidi traditions and cultures, using the fire against fire approach as she refused to give me any other identity other than this one that I’ll need when the time comes. And so I was Yazidi, a Yazidi with an uncertain future but a definite end.

Lumm Sayaaf reminded me of my mother at times as she tried her best to be a strong protective mother-hen of the coop, protecting us whenever she could from abuse and sometimes even offering herself up as sacrifice--but the “they” made sure that the division between married and unmarried was as demarcated as the distinction between men and women--rescinding to the rooster of her husband as he pecked at us from the orders of the “them”.

Sayaafa abba entered that day with three girls who looked like they came from another part of the world, white as milk, dressed in the garb of men of trousers and a jacket, they had their hair pulled up into a bun on top of their heads as opposed to veil covered heads that I was used to and spoke in a tongue that I couldn’t make head or tail of. Abba spoke to one of them in our language who seemed to get the gist of it as she translated the same to her friends in the foreign tongue and accent. Even though they clearly were the crème of our existing group and exotic as Nadia whispered to me, the one thing we all had in common was fear. Not fear of the unknown but fear of the devil in what was about to come. And the only thing that stuck as I strained my ears to listen was the word Nina.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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30 Bible Verses For The Broken-Hearted

The first month is always the hardest.
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These Bible verses aren't only for people experiencing a break-up; they're meant to be uplifting, comforting and to bring a sense of peace to anyone who's hurting. The first month after every hardship is always the most difficult.

1. Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened; and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

2. John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

3. Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved."

4. Psalm 147:3

"He heals the broken-hearted, and bandages their wounds."

5. Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight."

6. 1 Peter 4:19

"So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good."

7. Romans 5:1-2

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory."

8. Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

9. Philippians 3:13-14

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

10. Psalm 34:18

"The Lord is near the broken hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged."

11. Romans 8:39

"Nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

12. Psalm 73:26

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

13. Psalm 71:20

"You who have shown me great distress and troubles will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the Earth."

14. Isaiah 43:1 b

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine."

15. Romans 8:18

"For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."

16. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.'"

17. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

18. Ezekiel 36:26

"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

19. 1 Peter 5:7

"Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

20. Revelation 21:4

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away."

21. Isaiah 41:10

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

22. Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you."

23. Romans 5:8

"I loved you at your darkest."

24. Isaiah 43:18

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past."

25. Psalm 46:1-2

"God is our refuge and strength; a well proven help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the Earth be removed."

26. Hebrews 13:5-6

"Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'. So we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

27. Romans 15:13

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."

28. Luke 20:17

"But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?”

29. Psalms 9:9

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."

30. Psalm 30:5

"For His anger endures but a moment, in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."



Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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No, I Won't Abandon The Catholic Church Because Of The Recent Scandals

Abandoning the Catholic Church and our faith only helps Satan further his reach.

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I refuse to leave the Catholic Church because of the recent (and not so recent) sex scandals involving some of our priests, bishops and even higher-ups. By this point, we all are aware of the variety of sexual assaults that have been committed. When people learn we are Catholic, we all have also been probably lashed out at. Among a few of the things I have been asked and told, some more rude and harsh than others, the one that sticks with me has been asked to me by some of my closest friends: "How do you still proclaim you are Catholic and go to weekly Mass when your priests assault altar boys?"

Hearing someone say those words out loud never gets easier. There is never a second that you don't stop after that question and at least subconsciously think, "Why the hell am I still here? Why and how could this have happened?"

In order to realize that we can still be faithful Catholics after tragedies such as these, we need to revisit our roots in Christ. We need to turn to the Bible and our pope for guidance and to help us remember our true purpose as Catholics.

As a Catholic, it is your job to love, respect and worship God first and foremost. It is not your job to blindly take the word of those who publicly act as Christ would; rather, it is your job to discern when God's divine intervention to our clergy stops and humans' selfish intentions begin.

Being a Catholic means being forgiving. Forgiving your enemies, those who betray you and those who betray the innocent. It is not our job as mere mortals to play judge, jury and executioner with God's fellow creations. Forgiveness is hard. Incredibly hard in this case.

As someone who has been sexually assaulted, I can only begin to commiserate with the sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church. I understand the emotional and spiritual toll it can take on someone. I will never understand the rage, betrayal and guilt the members of the affected churches feel, let alone the families of the victims.

But God calls us to forgiveness. God calls us to greatness. God calls us to draw nearer to Him in times of trouble and despair. Although we as a Catholic community may feel shame over our brothers and sisters in Christ committing such heinous acts, we should not abandon our Church or our faith. If we do that, we are furthering the devil's cause that began in the hearts of the corrupt clergy.

Abandoning the Church and our faith is merely asking Satan to take another step into the Catholic Church and further infiltrate it. By leaving the Church and our faith, we are allowing Satan and his slaves to further destroy the declining Christian base and morale throughout the world.

Here I am, Lord. Is it I? Should I be the one to incessantly pray for forgiveness for those who have committed those heinous crimes? Should I be the one to incessantly pray for the victims, their families, their parishes and their eventual inner peace with themselves and their pasts? Should I be the one to incessantly pray that they either remain in the Church or one day return to Her?

It should be all of us. All of us should pray. Constantly. Without end.

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