The Afghan Women’s Writing Project is pleased to participate in the global Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign from Nov. 25 through Dec. 10—International Human Rights Day.
The work presented here represents just a few of the essays and poems written by AWWP writers in honor of International Women’s Day over the last several years. Please join our writers in celebrating IWD on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Two AWWP writers survived a terrorist attack last month by armed gunmen at American University of Afghanistan. The August 24 attack killed thirteen people, including students, teachers, and security guards. The two girls tell their stories for AWWP here. AUAF remains closed since the attack.
Wednesday 24th of August, 2016. The fourth day of my second semester. My last class finished at 6:20 p.m. I expected to meet a friend, but she did not come so I finished my dinner and went to the mosque to pray. At 7:04 p.m., I had just finished praying when three explosions went off two meters (6.5 feet) from the mosque. The air turned dark, the ceiling fell upon us. It was hard to breathe. Seconds later, gunshots began. I could not believe what seemed clear: the American University of Afghanistan was under attack.
The 24th of August was the third day of my second semester at AUAF. I had started with so many hopes. I was in statistics class on the second floor of the Bayat Building, listening carefully to the lecture, when we heard gunfire close to campus. Growing up in Afghanistan, we think of gunfire as routine. Our professor continued his lecture. Seconds later, an ear-blasting bomb shook the building and shattered the window glass. The campus was under attack.
Since early 2013, AWWP has featured twelve Oral Stories series in which AWWP writers have collected stories from women in Afghanistan, in particular women who are illiterate and cannot write their stories themselves. The women’s stories are recorded, transcribed, and translated into English by our writers and then edited for publication.
We now proudly share with you our cooperative project with StoryCenter’s Silence Speaks initiative, launched to further amplify Afghan women’s voices by use of video storytelling. By presenting their personal stories as recordings accompanied by their own imagery, we believe these brave women’s voices will touch viewers deeply.
Update 7 October: We have added the sixth and final video to this series — “Who Says I Can’t Ride a Bike?” by Raha. Please click Read More to watch.
Every day in Afghanistan, people walk with fear and think death is following them.
We can see the moon among clouds
We can bring it out
If we stretch out the hand of peace
If we open the mouth of love
We can split the sky