Oh mother city
City of love and mercy
How long must you carry this sorrow
Oh mother city
When you come to me
Bring a pair of eyes
So that I can see the world differently
Anyone passing by can sit
Under the dream tree
In this quiet space
Their wounds will heal
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.