Palwasha-Tokhi-closeupEditor’s note: This poem was written for radio reporter Palwasha Tokhi Miranzai, who was killed by an attacker outside her home in Balkh province on September 16, 2014.

I am a journalist
And not just a simple one
I am a fierce female journalist
I write about truth,
The truth you hate
The truth you hide in thousand layers of lies

You wish to break my pen
And my fingers
But my will is tough,
My pen is made of stone
For carving words in steel pages
Every day I go out

To walk in your alleys with my head up
Making your streets mine
You look at me as if I am a whore
Wishing to smash my teeth
I am not afraid of you
I am a journalist, a truth-seeker

I don’t lower my voice because you shout
My voice does not shake when I speak
I look in your eyes
And ask my questions
Standing upright like Hindu Kush
I give birth to courage

I am a journalist
You see me as a threat
To your biased rules and ancient ideas
I am not the shy obedient girl
I am a woman that claws truth from chaos
I am a role model

The woman you hide in a cloth tent
In your brick house of zeal and violence
The house that I aim to break
I write about wrongdoings
And your vain pride
You are angry to see me powerful

So angry your palms twitch, your teeth grind
And your inner devil breaks out
You sneak towards me like a coward
To stab me from behind in darkness
Shaming the moon with your crime
She hides behind the clouds

Pity on you, you weak monster
You think you silenced my voice?
You like killing a journalist?
My blood will water a thousand roses
Journalists will grow up to replace me
With pens sharp as thorns

They will rip your corrupted society
You think you punished me by death?
You think you killed me?
I am an eternal journalist
I revive every time a journalist takes a pen
I live in every journalist’s breath.

By Mahnaz

Photographer of Palwasha Tokhi Miranzai unknown.