By Heidi Trautmann
When Neriman Cahit came back from one of her missions to Arab countries to find still living victims and their offspring of acts of slavery, she told me how upset she was, how sad and speechless she still felt after the experience of meeting and talking to the women who were once sold to the Arabs. Girls who were sold by the thousands beginning of last century, often for a piece of land or for five English pounds.
Scenes of deep despair there and also here on the island when Cypriot families had heard of Neriman’s mission, relatives who did not know what had happened to the girls of mostly very young age when they were sold; they contacted her by writing, by calling her on the phone, asking whether she had met or heard anything about the whereabouts of their relative. People crying, men and women, proving that these acts of inhumanity have never been forgotten.
Neriman had said that she was not able to start writing down her experiences for a long time, but now the book is finished and published and the first publication is nearly sold out after just one week.
I saw her amongst her readers and persons concerned by the subject, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day celebrated publicly at the Kyrenia Municipality Park below the Green Open Wednesday Market where hundreds of women, charity and women associations, were having stands informing on family matters and also selling handicraft for charity reasons. Işik Bookstore had a stall there and the owner Nahide Merlen was surrounded by many people interested in getting the newest publications and when finally Neriman arrived as announced in the papers, people were already waiting for her with her book in their hands to have it signed by her, and so many of them were telling her their own family story of yet another relative sold.
Neriman Cahit, poet and research writer, member of women’s associations, has always fought with her literary means, for the rights of women, for injustice done to them, for recording and bringing them to the attention of the public. Thank you Neriman!