Afghan Women's Writing Project
It hid my pouts and smiles
It made me fear what I want to see
She thought she’d spend her life serving him
Her four children sometimes full, sometimes hungry
She thought just be nice and obey.
Fear is my friend, love a secret I will not whisper.
“The walls have mice and mice have ears.”
Heaven is beneath a mother’s feet,
sing the Afghan men softly sing into our ears.
Go ahead and break down all those doors,
closed in front of you. Remove all customs
that harm women in our society. Join
the sun’s light and smile in the face of all sadness.
She is not a commodity to be hidden,
under black Hijab.
Worthless people do not know the worth
No matter, I’m hidden
Under my burqa.
I can still walk toward my dreams
The radio talks of successful women.
It talks of women in Parliament.
It talks of girls going to school.
Hearing this good news brings me hope.
Uneducated, like most here,
In my poor province,
They cannot know
the woman as a human
In the village of life.
This story began from me
Me as a woman
Me as a daughter
Me as a mother
I am an Afghan woman
History is changed by the small actions of ordinary people. —Zahra A.
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