Posts Tagged ‘Religious misogyny’

“The Zar Tales”, Chapter Two

June 4, 2018

When I first posted a few chapters of this book a few years ago, I got violent objections and threatened violence from an unknown Jew and a Muslim. For different and equally stupid reasons.  This is the course for women writers when the misogyny of men come into play.  I have learned to ignore them, as I have to deal with misogynistic and also stupid men in my neighborhood sometimes on a daily basis.  A tough battlefield, a steep learning curve, but it has been ever thus for women.

Lady Nyo



Of course there had to be a snake in this paradise. It was the village mayor. He was not happy with the power Shakira had. For Shakira was a Sheikha, a ‘wise woman’, trained from her mother’s line in the responsibilities of such a position. Shakira was consulted by the women over many issues. Marriages, birth names, the problems women had over their troublesome men, all these and much more came to Shakira. She was wise, and known for her sensible opinion. She had power in her own right.

And this was irksome to the mayor. Not enough issues came to his desk. He was a man, and in this world, a man was the one to consult, not a woman!

No, the mayor was up against a force of nature disobedient to the natural order of life. And besides, he heard the women were having too much fun in the opinion of some of the husbands. There was talk they were planning to meet and drink and smoke and drum and laugh till late at night, but that was just a whispered rumor. Ah, life was not in the proper order at all!

He, by the authority of his office, would have to make inquiries into this matter. The women were showing their heels and who knew what would happen next? Perhaps they would roll their eyes at the Imam! Perhaps the women would refuse next to go to the mosque! Who knows with women? They could create all sorts of mischief, and he, the mayor, would be called to account for it. Ah! He owed it to the men, his brothers under the sun, to find out what was going on. He owed it to his own reputation and his position in the village to investigate all rumors. Perhaps if he put his foot down now, his own wife of many years would quiet her voice and heel to his command like a good Muslim wife. But he had his doubts. His wife, after all, was related to Shakira. Ah! That clan stretched back into time, and making his own wife obey was like telling the wind not to blow. It was the blood of Shakira that made ill in his own house. Or, at least, it had a part in his problems.

Well, whatever to come, he owed it to Allah, the one God! And He was a Man! He would agree with the mayor. That was the natural Order of things.

So the mayor, whose name was Mr. Nageesh, heard that on a certain Friday, when the men were at mosque chanting their prayers, the women were making their way to Shakira’s house. Mayor Nageesh sent a young boy, not more than twelve, to count those entering the house and see if he could hear anything of their plans. This young boy lurked in the shadows of a doorway and watched. At least twelve women had entered the house, some with bundles concealed under their dresses. What they were carrying was not clear to the boy, but the sound of drumming and laughter and even the sound of suspicious clinking of bottles could be heard from this house after dark. Worse, the women stayed there for hours. The sound of their ruckus was shameful, even the men could hear it through their snoring.

A Zar! The women were holding a Zar! What else could it be? Ah, this was very bad, very, very bad, for the Zar was now illegal. Everyone knew it was banned as pagan by the illustrious council of religious men in the cities. This would be the end of his office if word of this spread beyond this village. It was sure to reach the ears of the district and then he would have his hands full. Or, he thought with a shiver….they could have his head. It had happened before. Allah have mercy!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


Published 2010,


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