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.