LINA BEN MHENNI (Tunisia)
Lina "- literally means "Our". That is, the one that belongs to us. The one with us. There was an omen in the name given to me at birth. Could it have affected my fate? After all, I was the first child in a family that lived in a country where it is desirable that the firstborn was a son. And where the daughter who took his place was almost a disgrace to the mother, and the father, who could not immediately continue his family, was forever under the shadow of the discontent of his relatives.
But there were also those who tried to comfort my parents.
"She's such a cute girl! And you're still so young, both of you, that there'll be time for a boy, too! A son will definitely be born!" a friend, a publisher by profession, reassured them.
But the paradox is that in my family, my parents passionately wanted to have a girl as their first child. Yes, and the maternal grandmother was for the girl: after all, in her youth, she was a fan of the first Tunisian president, Habib Bourguiba, who has the honor of emancipating women in our country...
"Lina! Let's call her Lina! my parents exclaimed when they saw me.
"But, sir," the official who registered my birth certificate objected to my father, " Muslims don't have such a name - Lina! And I can't write it down in Tunisian!
This solemn refusal of the municipal employee, who absolutely did not want me to register under that name, struck my father to the heart. After all, my name did not fall from the sky to them.
They chose it among thousands of other names just because it sounded beautiful in all languages. And this international sound was especially important for my father and mother: they were Marxist-Leninist activists at that time, and their home was always full of guests from all continents...
And now my father is being told that Muslims don't have such a name. That the name is not Arabic... For my father, this was the first serious encounter with life, with "human stupidity," as he said. But a ... Read more