Monday, November 10, 2003

123 and still couldn't break free: Sexism follows woman to the grave

Have you been carrying around any lingering resentments that you should probably let go of? This poor woman was still resentful about something she had to do in the 1800's. And still no peace.

123-Year-Old Woman Buried Next to Hated Husband

TIRANA (Reuters) - The oldest woman in Albania -- and perhaps the world -- died at the age of 123 and was buried beside the husband she resented being forced to marry at 14.

Born on August 22, 1880, Hava Rexha breathed her last in the picturesque central Albanian village of Shushice, where she had spent her whole life.

Wrapped in a faded shroud which she embroidered for herself when her elderly husband died a few years after World War II, Rexha was buried in the wooded Shushice cemetery.

Hundreds of people, who saw her as an icon of longevity, joined her only surviving daughter, Vule, 80, and 120 other members of her family to pay their last respects at a Muslim ceremony local reporters described as "majestic."

Interviewed by Reuters a month before her 122nd birthday, Rexha still resented her forced marriage at 14 to a man who was "about 60 and married twice before as well."

"I did not want a wedding. I didn't love my husband. He was an old man," said Rexha, who had six children, four of whom died in childhood.

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