God! If You Were an Afghan Woman

“God! If you were a woman
An Afghan woman
You would be sorry
Why did you create women?
Why did you create women?
When a mother gives birth to a baby girl
She receives warnings instead of rewards
“Shame on you!
Again it is a daughter!
Again this dokhtarzai has delivered a daughter!”
What would you do if you were this mother?
What would you do if you were me?
If like me you worked day and night
Washing the clothes of 25 family members
Cooking dinner for my husband’s guests
If like me you ate smoke
If like me you ate tears
What would you think of a woman’s heart?
In the hot summer afternoons
When my husband sleeps in the shadow of the trees
I am still hungry
I am not done with my housework
I have a baby on my shoulder
I am eight months pregnant
My four-year-old is dead from fever
My husband is under the tree
Daydreaming of the money he will make
Selling my little 13-year-old Marwa,
Mariam for more, because she can knit carpets
God! If you were me
How would you feel?
How could you help a helpless mother?
God! It is you who gave them power
It is you who call them Sir!
For my choices they cut my nose
If I hear anything they cut my ears
Men use me as clothes
Something that gives them joy
No matter how I feel
No matter if I am ready or not
They love to play with a 12-year-old bride
They touch me
They hurt me
My father and my brother sell my pride
To a 70-year-old man
My price is thousands of dollars
My tears cost nothing
God! Please come to my house
Come to Afghanistan and see
The scars in my body
My blue eyes
My cut nails
My ironed body
I am covered in my burqa
I am covered with pains
God! You said in the Quran
You are the God of justice
Who can judge you, God?
If you were an Afghan woman
You would be sorry.
You would be sorry
You created me a woman
Am I not a human?
God! Who can remove my pain?
Who can heal my scars but you?
Who can hear me but you?
God! I swear
Until you stop this injustice against women
I won’t hold my hands to pray again
I won’t touch your Quran
I won’t call you God
I won’t call you God

The above has been reprinted with permission from awwproject.org.


Imagine you have a story to tell. It is a story about hope, loss, tragedy and courage. It’s your story. Now imagine trying to write this story having grown up in a country where education was denied to you, where telling your story has been criminalized. And then picture writing it in a second language.

The women of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, some not even teenagers yet, are doing exactly this: fighting to tell their stories. Despite the risks, these developing writers are driven by the need to share their voice.

Willard Metcalf

Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858 – 1925) was an American artist born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and later attended Académie Julian, Paris. After early figure-painting and illustration, he became prominent as a landscape painter. Generally associated with American Impressionism, he is also remembered for his New England landscapes and involvement with the Old Lyme Art Colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut and his influential years at the Cornish Art Colony. Source: Wikipedia.