This is earth, round and huge. You never know
when you will say hello or goodbye in this world.

We Afghan girls don’t know when we opened our eyes
but we do know soon our eyes will close. Fighting

for 50 years: hunger, thirst, death, so many losses.
In my land the war never stops, the fire always burns.

Think for a moment and let yourself be me.
What would you do if you lived this childhood? If you were

not allowed to study, eat, drink, or be a girl without shame?
What would you do if you could never sleep in peace? I

ask you: what would you do if you were me? How would
you live in this place where ears are deaf, eyes blind,

tongues cut out, mouths held shut, hands tied? We are
so brutalized we don’t dare think of being free.

I am tired of all these words: war, rape,
death, kill, lost, brutalized, and attacked.

Hold your hands up now and pray and be happy
you are not me. The heart of me has no feeling.

I have stopped dreaming. As hard as I work,
the land where I live will not change.

You can’t dare to live this life of mine.
I am asking you: can you answer me?

By Aysha

A scene from Afghanistan’s Palwasha TV series, a show that draws attention to the issue of violence against women. UN Photo/Jawad Jalali.