Here in Afghanistan

The world was different, but now is lost

Once no tongues needed to be held back

Books, pencil, paper were used

Voices echoed, laughter filled our mouths

Money was earned

Through the hard toils of the earth

No cloth defined me

No person fined me

For being myself

But as all good things come to an end

I too became a sin.


Here in Afghanistan in 1980,

Young girls are voiceless commodities, doomed to a life in poverty

Begging on the street to make ends meet,

Because a man from the soviet union saw the opportunity to make a “land grab”.

Yes it’s the men that fight the war,

But It’s the women who must face the consequences raising up a child who senses,

That something isn’t right,

that the booming sounds coming from outside aren’t fireworks at all

they’re explosions leaving the village next door in a state of carnage.

Here in Afghanistan, women belong either to their house

Or their grave.

War doesn’t just deny them the right to work, education, security,

basic human liberties, human dignity.

Because “every price has its tax…and this is war, and there is no shame in war”.


Scared to go outside, she can’t even see the sunlight.

Her body concealed like a weapon, swaddled tight as a burrito

She has no voice; even as her screams fall on the deaf ears

Mama mama, why didn’t you tell me?Can’t you see this life isn’t fit for a girl?

This isn’t a life at all.

Her husband is rich; he gave her a pair of shiny black eyes;

Soft silk dresses to hide her broken bones behind,

Glittering diamonds to speak for her.

What a nice life she has, so rich.

Manicures, haircuts, makeovers all for her.

She could never tell him she hated the way MAC felt on her skin,

The lipstick glued her mouth shut.

Happy couple, devoted wife.

Their son is just like him, daughter just like her. What a good girl!

Good girl, obedient girl; listens to her parents.

Obedience and fear from the palm of his hand.

What benefits does the Taliban offer, free healthcare? Insurance?

Insurance of fear.


What next, when release comes from more violence;

Fine. Enter the land that is supposed to

Be their home. Come. Enter, United States;

9/11. Islamic extremists

Attacked you…….

Thank you Nato for heroically

Swooping in and providing foreign peace-

Keepers, marking the start of war on the


Thank you America, Home of the Free,

For sending your own troops to support and

Bolster the Afghan army overseas.

Thank you Nato for taking control of

Security in Kabul. For finally

Stepping out of your own comfort zone in

Europe for the first time. We realize

You risk everything. We do realize.

But what took you so long? Somewhere in

Afghanistan, as girls have waited, they’ve

Been banned from a life. Their lives are not some

Controversial book. Their lives are not a

“Kinder Egg” that the FDA can place

A halt of production on because it

Could be hazardous. Their lives are not a

Merriam-Webster 10th edition, that

Some mother in America had banned

Due to the possibility that a

Child might read the true definition of

“Oral sex.”

God forbid that she was educated.

And that’s precisely how the girls had lived.

Banned from innocence. Banned from movies, Banned

From dancing and music. Banned from clapping

At sports events, banned from flying a kite.

All common expectancies in America in 2017.

Happy New Year.

Where were you in the early 2000s?

They’ve been sitting there, waiting.

Oppressing their glorious possibilities

Into much less than what they could be.


Here in Afghanistan, in 2010,

International leaders gathered and

Entangled this broken nation into

Every newspaper and channel worldwide,

Fueling hatred toward and pity for the

Women who choose to cover themselves in-

stead of the men who demand they do so.

Despite incentive to lay down their arms,

The Taliban insist on frightening

Their beliefs into people, and dragging

The very women who birthed those arms


Here in Afghanistan, in 2010,

President Obama boosted the troops

By 30,000, 100,000

New terrors parading the streets, shaming

Assaulting, raping, pitying, changing

Nothing. Changing absolutely nothing.

Here in Afghanistan, one year later,

72 percent of women see

Their lives as better than 10 years ago,

But even that was just 10 years ago.

Now, 86 percent fear a return

Of the taliban, the captors and the

Killers who saw nothing but their gender,

And thought they should pay for it with their lives.

The World Health Organisation says that

35 percent of women worldwide

Experience physical abuse or

Sexual violence in their entire lives.

Here in Afghanistan, 2014,

A new law will protect the men who rape,

Beat, attack, mark, decimate, ruin, and

Berate their wives, daughters, and strangers who

Can no longer count on their home country

to protect them, testifying in court

Is now illegal, as is basically



Because we must control what the people say, and how they think

And if they want to become the overseer of their own selves, then we'll show them a real one

And somewhere in Afghanistan, there's a child sitting in her mother's lap, cowering at the news of the Taliban’s last attack, and that's open to the public

But that child will never have read "To Kill a Mockingbird" because the school has banned her for the way she was born.

You never told us what we weren't allowed to say

We just learned how to hold our tongues.




This poem is about: 
Our world
Guide that inspired this poem: 


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