BIMI
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children around them. Who were these men? Muffled cries could be heard as Mary and her children, wide- eyed with terror, recognized one of the attackers. Husseini had returned! It was not long before Mary was singled out, and all the venom of the attackers was directed at her and her children. The attackers, working themselves into a bloodthirsty frenzy, pulled Mary away from her children and brandishing a long sword, they prepared to slay her on the spot. Suddenly, almost as quickly as it started, the attack ended. Husseini swiftly snatched his children, crammed them in the vehicle, and he and the other attackers sped away leaving Mary and the others weeping in the midst of their vandalized camp. This is Mary's story: She had been forced to marry Husseini when she was only fourteen years old. It had been an arranged marriage by her parents—no doubt they had received a sizeable dowry in exchange for the marriage of their daughter. Husseini had already tried marriage several times, but none had lasted because he had treated his wives so cruelly. So this time, he had to go far afield to find a wife. He had to travel farther into the desert beyond where his cruel reputation would be known. For sixteen long years, Mary had been married to Husseini. During all of these years he had never cared for her. When sick, medicine was never purchased. When in need, she was never helped. Even when basic clothing was lacking, nothing was provided. She was not much more than a slave. At times Husseini even brought another woman home with him for the night, chasing Mary and the children away from their tent-home to find some other place to sleep out in the desert. In the early days of their marriage, Mary had lived with her in-laws in their family camp. Their cruelty towards her was only eclipsed by her husband's frequent tirades. She had to work hard to provide for her growing family as well as help with her in-laws' livestock. Her lot was to draw water by hand from the deep desert well. Drawing the cool water from 130 feet down, then carrying the water on her head in five- gallon cans in order to water several hundred dromedaries (one-humped camels) was an arduous task. If she ever refused, the in-laws would curse her and treat her and the children even 5