Silent and immolated by my society’s bad customs,
I believe in love, forgiveness, loyalty.
I am a woman. What do I get?
Violence. They beat me, cut my nose and my ears and my fingers.
In this, who is immolated?
She is me—
My father hands me over to bad custom.
When my father, brother, or uncle kills a person, I pay for their crime.
Instead of the bier of the slain, uncle gives my body—my words unsaid—to the slain
They do the crime; I must pay with my body and my life
and even then, their violence doesn’t stop.
I am a Muslim woman, and I love my faith.
But they have introduced a wrong Islam.
They filled me with a violent, unjust Islam of humility, reclusion, and patriarchy.
I must be aware and wakeful.
I must know myself, and have my own picture from myself, not others
I must find my position in the world.
I must stand and advocate for myself and other women.
She is me—
an Afghan woman and an Afghan girl.
I dream of being a free Afghan woman
with deep knowledge and honesty,
with knowledge of my Islam and my self,
the Islam of equal rights for mother and father,
the Islam that allows both sisters and brothers to learn and
the Islam with a life message to all women:
I am human. I will be free.
I have rights like others around the world.
I love my Islam and my Allah, so kind and loveable.
Photo: Evelio Contreras/CNN