I Am Asking You


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.


  1. So powerful. Would love to share this this sometime when I speak to people about women in Afghanistan. Liz

  2. You pose these questions, Aysha, and I must say: no. I can’t imagine that the price of love, marriage, existence must be total obedience, or that my rights are not equal to anyone else’s–but there are too many people in the world who would disagree! There is a song whose lyric I think of often: “everybody’s got to fight to be free.” There are so many ways that others try to control us, try to plunder whatever of worth we have to offer. No matter what country we’re born in or what social class. Men must be fearful of this as well. I am proud of you for writing this poem. You have such a strong voice. Wishing you the ability to keep writing, keep thinking, keep observing, keep fighting for all that is good. Stacy

  3. Palwasha Mirbacha says:

    This is very intense and heart breaking.
    Also, I know how conscious and awaken you are as a human and how all that leads to deep realization and acknowledge of the issues in our social fabric.

  4. I do understand how people in our society wants us to be weak and helpless but we have to stop this. I know its not easy but I want to try. Aysha Jan this is really pain full. It felt my heart so much. Keep writing my little princess and I am always proud to have a princess like u in my live. Thanks Farishta

  5. This is such a beautiful poem and depiction of Afghan women lives.
    You never let us down Aysha and thank you for the great work!

  6. Alice Bullard says:

    Aysha, I’m so happy to see this on the blog!!! I’ve been looking for it.
    You are a powerful writer. Don’t ever let anyone take that away!
    Keep writing. Keep speaking the truth. Keep being brave day after day. One day you will realize you have helped to change your world.

  7. Keya Mitra says:

    Dear Aysha,

    You’ve written yet another powerful, beautiful poem here that raises such thought-provoking questions. You are an amazingly talented, brilliant writer, and it is always so wonderful to read your work. Keep writing always–you are a gift.

    Love and admiration, Keya

  8. This is such a beautiful poem and description of Afghan women lives.So powerful…

  9. Ghazala Tazmeen says:

    Yet another touching poem. Totally felt and pray things change for better! xxx

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