This poem was written at an AWWP writing workshop in Kabul for International Human Rights Day on Monday, December 10, 2012. The writers wondered what it would be like if they woke up on Monday and it really was a day for all to share in human rights.

I wake early this morning, make a black tea, eat corn cake
for breakfast. On my table, the calendar open. Today
is the 10th of December, such a special day. I think deeply—
celebrate Human Rights, here and everywhere.
How delicious this cake. A beautiful morning, I say.

I am an Afghan girl.
How sweet the taste of this word, freedom.

The sky is a new color, bright for spring.
I will reach that sky, fly, be the messenger, spread the word
of the Afghan girl. I will see this day, a bird of peace soaring
in equality. The promise of it is so sweetly blue. Sweet like pie.

I go outside, hear the sound of the wind, feel its song, sung for me—
the best tomorrow is on its way. I will celebrate, such great meaning for us.
I will be part of a society in which I belong—belong will be a common word
for every woman and girl.

Human Rights Day. I celebrate.

But in the distance, I hear the voice of the suicide bomb.
It saddens me. I cannot celebrate now, cannot taste sweetness
until no people suffer, no warlord attacks, no terrorist kills.

I must share all women’s pain in the world, with the world.

When humans know the worth of it, life will taste as sweet as happiness.
When humans know not the worth of it, life tastes bitter as sorrow.

Meaningless words—freedom, equality, rights not practiced.
Laws forbid it. Violence repeats.
We say these words: Equal rights for men and women.
They are not here—our hands so empty without love for ourselves.

I work and wait. The sun will shine; the sky will be clean and lovely.
No one will cry about anything.
I will feel proud because I am free.

I am a girl, an Afghan girl.

By the Kabul Writers