I wake to do something new, something
I have done never before,
get the highest score on my lesson at the university,
and get my Ph.D. from Harvard,
do my task at the office properly.
I wake to peace in my country, a blue sky
That will never be covered with smoke again.
I am becoming—
becoming a successful writer. I write
about women, and this, my greatest hope—
I write that there is no violence against us,
that all women and children live in peace,
that we will struggle no more.
A suicide attack,
the Taliban returns to power,
2014, when international forces will withdraw,
Women wear burqas, stay closed in at home.
Civil war, people fleeing their country.
Then I listen, hear my heart.
It calls me
to be optimistic
about the future.
Try to be positive, it says.
Don’t think of the negative.
And then I wish
that my friends may have a peaceful life,
at home, to see my mother happy,
to see my brothers’ and sisters’ lives filled
to see mutual respect among all religions.
Freedom of speech, freedom of expression,
Freedom to believe in my country.
No one should be threatened because of her beliefs.
All ones should respect and love each other,
because of our humanity, not because
of religion, faith, race,
Each woman has the right to make
decisions about her life.
Each man should respect a woman’s capabilities.
Men need to know their lives are incomplete
No more mistrust, paranoia, or poverty.
I am a woman and I have skills.
I am intelligent, and I am strong.
I am not afraid of challenges.
because it is my right.
I am patient and will never give up.
I will be faithful to this pledge until the end of my life.
By Sitara B.
Photo: RFE/RL / Sabawoon