A morning sunrise near 5 a.m. I wake up and look out the window. The weather is fresh. Birds are singing. Some people are going to mosque for their Fajr prayers. The cheese seller is shouting, Cheese! Fresh cheese! I usually watch from the window in my room because the sunrise is beautiful. You can feel the peace, the patience, and the beauty.
Today I wonder about this: Every day a girl wakes up and helps her family in their daily work. Girls live the way their parents want them to live. They can be happy only when their parents are happy. And some girls are happy in life, but some count the days until they die.
There are girls who don’t know their rights. They see no difference between life or death. Some say if suicide were not forbidden in Islam their bones would have been turned to ashes by now. Many get married at a young age and die young in pregnancy. They aren’t allowed to go to school after the fourth year.
Why? I ask why, and then I understand. Very few girls are appreciated by their families. Girls in Afghanistan are very hardworking but if a girl doesn’t get support from her family, she won’t go to school. That is why girls have so many problems in their daily lives. But why don’t Afghan girls get support from their families? A family is everything a girl has here.
As an Afghan girl I feel the pain we hide in our chests. We can’t show it or share it. Every day I see women and young girls in the streets begging, sleeping in the streets, heartless and broken from war. Their pain is far worse than we can imagine. Every woman in Afghanistan has a hidden beauty and a hidden story under her burqa. A secret kept so deep that no one can find it.
How about you? If you had paper, but no pencil, how would you express yourself? If you had both a pencil and paper but you had not learned to write, then what? There is more, but it makes me sad to think like this. It goes deeper and deeper and never ends, like the sea.
I have heard many people in Afghanistan talk about jihad in Islam. They are Muslim but they don’t know the five pillars of Islam. Islam means peace. Islam says that education is an obligation for men and women. Why are these words not followed? I accept that Islam says women must wear hijab. We follow our Islam sayings but we can’t ride a bicycle with hijab. We can’t study and concentrate with hijab. We can’t eat ice cream in the park with hijab.
Today is September 16, 2013. I went to get my voting card for the next presidential election. Some women didn’t wanted their pictures on their voting cards because they are scared of the Taliban. If they come and rule us again, the Taliban will punish us if they see our pictures on our voting cards.
Afghanistan and Japan both took their independence in the same year: 1919. Look at the differences for women in these countries today, like fire and water. Don’t girls have dreams? Don’t we have hearts to feel, or are we like stones with pumping blood? Don’t women have a right to life? If the answer is no, then I am ready to die. Death is better than a life full of fear.
Do we deserve this? We are waiting for justice. We are still standing in the dark and searching for the light—and we will never give up.
Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images