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11-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Protests Arranged Marriage

Viral sensation shines light on plight of girls in Middle East

Nada Al-Ahdal / MEMRI
• July 22, 2013 3:03 pm

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An 11-year-old Yemini girl has garnered international headlines after she fled the Islamic country to avoid a forced marriage arranged by her family.

Nada al-Ahdal can be seen on a video released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) stating that she would commit suicide before being forced to marry an older man.

The video has garnered nearly 3 million views since its release on Sunday.

"I filed a complaint with the police against my mother," al-Ahdal states on the video. "I told them that I am only 11-years-old and she wants to marry me off."

Al-Ahdal, who ran away from her family to avoid the forced marriage, expressed outrage at a society that promotes the forced marriage of preteen girls.

"I would have had no life, no education," she says on film. "Don't they have any compassion? What kind of upbringing did they get?"

"I'm better off dead. I'd rather die," al-Ahdal says. "I'd rather live with my uncle than with these people. They threatened to kill me if I went to my uncle. What kind of people threaten their children like that? Would it make you happy to marry me off against my will? Go ahead and marry me off. I'll kill myself, just like that. I won't go back to live with them. I won't."

Al-Ahdal goes on to note that her 14-year-old aunt committed suicide due to a forced marriage.

Published under: Media, Middle East, Yemen