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My Dear Mahram,

I feel sorry for you when I remember all your struggles, all your efforts, and all your thoughts that were for me and only for me. I remember how embarrassed you were when you discovered that I had heard the voice of another Man. I remember how brokenhearted you were anytime anyone heard my voice and so you always tried to keep me silent. I remember how tired it made you to have to try to find a husband for me.

Do you remember that day when we had to go to the doctor?  I wore my burqa and you covered the mirror with papers so that I would not look at myself and organize my clothes. You checked my clothes all over. It was dark under my burqa. I felt sad and bad, like a piece of shit. My entire body was covered. I felt like I looked crazy. I was helpless to find my own way; I couldn’t decide whether to walk beside or behind you. That day my feet were not mine. I was like a car, and you were the driver. 

That day was not the only day I hated myself as a woman. I always hated myself. I swear. Most of the time I wished I could throw away my breasts, my body, throw everything that could signal my womanhood to the dogs. I wanted to live my life. I wanted to live freely and happily.

Sometimes I wished that modern life would change you a little bit. When you drove your Volvo car and called your friends with your new mobile phone. That made me optimistic, seeing you accept and trust changes in our society. I hoped your thousand-year-old thoughts would end one day. That you would consider me human. That you would say: “Pari, you and I are equal!”

But most of the time I was disappointed.

I saw how you were educated with a degree and how you were also successful in your career. But when I came into the picture, you changed. You said you respected “our” traditions. You said that this was “our” culture and way of life.

I wondered: is beating, hating, and hiding me part of our official culture? I wondered what books you studied and why they had not improved your mind. I didn’t understand who could give you a degree. I wished that you would return your educational certificates and go back to school until you learned that I, like you, deserved a good life—as a woman.


Click for the final part 3.