My cousin is like a sister and best friend to me and she is the strongest woman I have ever known. When we were teenagers we shared our dreams for our futures. Her dream was to get married and have four children. She even selected names for them. They would be called Baktash, Rabha, Srosh, and Ramin.

But sadly, while she got married and became pregnant with her first child, she lost the child in her fifth month. After an operation she lost any hope of ever becoming pregnant again. I felt so sad for her. But later on we were able to find a child at a hospital and she kept him and was able to raise this boy as her own.

She sent him to India to be educated. But when he was newly graduated from his college, he wanted to come back and booked his tickets home. But he was killed by a group of terrorists for unclear reasons. So she lost her son and she also lost the dreams that she had for her son.

I remember her son’s funeral ceremony. As she cried, she dried her tears and tried to speak as the sounds of ululation went on.  I felt very sad for her; I realized her voice was choked in her throat.

My cousin’s marriage was a love marriage but when their son died, their life grew dark. We all advised them to tolerate the hardship together. But after seven months they decided for her husband to have a second marriage.

I said to my cousin, “Please don’t let him take a second wife. It is unfair to you. If he marries again what will happen to you? You will not be tolerated at all.”  

But my poor friend could not think of herself, she only wanted her husband to be happy again. She asked one of her relatives to marry her husband and she was witness to his second marriage.

In my opinion it is very hard for a woman to witness her husband’s second marriage. My God, what a foolish culture we have in our country where there is no law to stop this kind of activity. I think of my poor friend and other Afghan women who face this and I can’t bear it. How can they live in the same house with their husband’s second wife? It must be very difficult.

I have not been able to visit my friend since her husband’s second marriage. I think of her as a powerful woman. She has tolerated so much hardship in her life. I wish her good health because I heard she was not well last week. I am praying for her and for all of our Afghan sisters who face these hardships and I pray they raise their voices against this violence and not tolerate what is done to them. 

By Mariam