I want to be myself with my own body,
my own soul, my own name,
with my own opinion,
an independent Afghan Muslim girl,
without others’ propaganda and lust.
I want to become one with the river
and sing the travel songs
to go where women are not second class,
where women can move ahead.
I want to really know the meadows
and give tulips to all women of my generation
because we all know how much
we have sacrificed.
Because of our bad customs
we sacrifice so much for crimes we do not commit.
We are punished.
We cannot even wear light colors.
We just wear black.
We hide ourselves from the derogatory looks of the profligate.
We had to leave our laughter with the past generations.
Laughter is a crime.
We have no peace even in our own homes.
We grieve for our lost happiness.
With all of these sacrifices, what more do you want from us?
We wanted to be with our own feelings and thoughts.
Participate in our community activities.
This is our legal right and
the right that Allah has given to us.
Our skirts are clean.
We are innocent of these community accusations.
Our hearts are so clear you can see our wishes and dreams.
What is our crime?
That we raised our voices?
They have accused us. We are not guilty.
We are shamed and abused
because we stood our ground.
They injured our souls and feelings.
We just stood silent and crying.
We let our happiness go and
we can no longer see it.
May the next generation of girls be independent.
May they be able to live their lives with feelings and ideas.
May they be able to live colorful lives with their own souls,
and may they tell the stories of our generation,
the story of the brave women of Afghanistan.
The story of our bravery.
The story of our sacrifice and honesty.
And may we be remembered.
Photo by Laura’s Eye.