Liridona is a young Saudi Arabian woman growing up in the deep-rooted beliefs of her parents and their village. When she begins to question if this is the life that she wants for herself she starts to do things that she is not allowed to do. She begins to read things and sneak into her father’s office and watch the news. She begins to see women from other countries who are living free of worries, fear and uncovered from the things that hide who these women are. Her mother tries to teach her how to live and stay alive as a woman in this country but Liridona soon realizes that this is not the life for her. All she wants is so simple, she wants to walk outside and feel the sun on her face. She wants to feel the sun on one side and the cool of water on the other. Finally on day she decides to walk out of her home, stand in the street and unwrap herself. By discarding her burka she was showing the utmost disrespect for her father and the other men in the village in addition to their culture. Liridona knew that she would be punished, and in the street that day, with the village watching her and her mother devastated but watching from a distance Liridona looses her life, for a simple freedom. (*Student may speak Arabic within the piece)
DI- Female- Cleansing From The Burka
- Hello, my name Liridona, it means free willed, freedom, desire, and I was born and raised in Mongabay, Saudi Arabia. (Smiles) I know that you are surprised that I am standing before you with nothing covering my face. Standing here able to touch my own skin. Loosing those things did not come without sacrifice and a great deal of loss. I stand before you a disgrace to my father, a traitor to mother and a woman who had been outcast from her own country. (Beat) But I stand here today free. Free to feel the heat of the sun directly on my face. I can feel the wind blow and I can even feel frost on my nose in the winter. (Laughs) It is pure insanity how the simplest things in life are the things that we take for granted. I can tell you that when you are covered for years, (Beat) like a slave who has been thrown into the bottom of the darkest corner of the shed, you begin to forget …what is under all of the fabric. The freedom to just ...be. Enjoy the light...pure light freely...it is one of God's greatest gifts. When I was a young girl my mother would always tell me, "Liridona in order to live you must pay attention to the things going on around you in this world. Pray and follow the lead of your father and then your husband. Our faith is Islam and you will follow it as it is law. A good woman knows her place; a (Beat) live woman knows her place. I will teach you this until the day I die. Do you understand me?" I shook my head yes even when I was much too young to understand what she was saying. You must understand that we could not miss what we never knew, things we never had. The concept of freedom for a Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia was what jokes were made of. It is a country built on the laws that are absent of choice.