sitara in herat

Sitara, you shine in Afghanistan’s sky,
make your small house bright.
I heard the news about your cutting—
how you lost your ears, nose, and lips.
Your name means star.
You illumine the darkness.
Cruel people don’t want
you to shine. Your lips
used to form
a beautiful smile,
but your husband’s eyes
refused to see it.
He cut you to take
that light from you.
But we are helping to bring it back.
We are fighting for you.
We defend, support you.

You are not the only Afghan woman
we need to defend. Aysha too
lost her nose.
You shine, Sitara, in Afghanistan’s sky.
Our sky is full of stars like you,
veiled in blue.
If we fade, shadows will darken
our Afghan people.
Women must light up our country again—
but how? We are being hung and killed.
How we can tell the world
we are tired of this treatment?
Sitara, do not grieve.
You will protect your sisters,
help them raise their voices.
You inspired this poem.
I raise my voice, do this for you.

By Seeta

Sitara in a Herat hospital before being flown to Turkey for emergency medical treatment on December 17, 2013. Photo by Jalil Rezayee / EPA. 


  1. It is very hard to think about what happened to dear Sitara, and it is terribly hard to look at the picture, but we must think, and we must look, and with the help of your poem, Seeta, we will feel deeply. You are the lights in the sky. No one has learned how to snuff out the night sky light. They can cut you and hurt you but they cannot destroy the light inside you. Thank you for writing this poem, Seeta. I hope it is read around the world. I hope Sitara can know that her sisters pray for her, and send her big love. Stacy

  2. You, Seeta, are helping to shine Sitara’s light. It is only through your powerful voice that the world can learn about the her and other women who are shine so brightly that attempts are made to destoy them.
    Thank you so much for sharing your pain and for not giving up!

  3. Sarah Leighton says:

    Dear Seeta,
    This is the first time I have heard of people being cut!! I knew that Afghan women are very bad
    Y treated by some men, but this is heart-breaking! Thankyou for speaking for Sitara, and for showing the brightness of her star around the world. I wish you all the very best and hope the situation improves for you very very soon. With love,

  4. I’m in my office, somewhere in France, and I can not read the end of the poem because my eyes are full of tears. My colleague look at me… I told him that I have dust in the eye.
    I can’t explain to him.
    I can not explain why I feel the hurt and pain of a sister somewhere in the world.
    We are of the same family, Seeta.
    The family of all those who suffer, those who live together, even distant and different.

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