Saturday, September 12, 2009

Meanwhile, in Yemen

The traditions about how to raise children are different:

A 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labor to give birth, a local human rights organization said Saturday. Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding on Friday while giving birth to a stillborn in the al-Zahra district hospital of Hodeida province, 140 miles (223 kilometers) west of the capital San'a.

I am not trying to be flippant here. The story is horrible. But the contrast to my earlier post is so striking in some ways. What adulthood means varies enormously by culture. It's pretty easy to spot the extreme interpretations (marry off eight-year old girls or ask someone to supervise a party given by a 24-year old) but much harder to say what the golden mean might be, the age at which we can all agree a person has turned into an adult.

The above quote is not a good example of that because it's all intertwined with the inequality of women. But my recent travels made me more aware of the cultural underpinnings of so many of those values which are taken for granted within any one culture.