The Legend of Women

by Lina Haidari

October 22, 2005


Here she comes,

A legend of a woman, riding the horse of destiny with the speed of fate on paths of eternity.

Here she comes,

A legend of a woman
Whose anklet sounds like rage in every thunder and restless twists in every storm.

Her steps, as soft and light as a deer jumping from rock to rock from obstacles to obstacles.

Her hair, wild and free, with dozen pigeons-white and black-nesting between every strand

Her eyes, as bright as a beacon in a dark stormy night with volcano of emotions in every gaze and ecstasy of feelings in every blink.

Here she comes,

Walking with grace unknown to mankind,
With a heart fearful of men's ignorance
And a body full of cultural wounds inflamed by misinterpreted religion

Here she comes,

With a determined soul
And a hopeful smile
Leaving behind
A red foot print on every page of history
To tell her story as loud as one's conscience talks to oneself.

She died a thousand deaths


When in the dawn of her birth
She was handed over to men
Covered in long black ropes
They buried her alive
In the hot deserts of Arabia
And poured a handful of sand
Into her shiny and joyful eyes
Eyes that tortured them with innocence in every look
And left her to die little by little while grasping for the air
In the grave of their ignorance
For the sin of being a girl

She died a thousand deaths

When they burned her alive
Next to the body of her husband
To be a sati
"She should not live after her husband dies"
Was the verdict of a man dressed in an orange robe
Sitting in a temple with a statue of a God resembling a vicious dark spirit
They swept her ashes into Ganji
In the name of fate and religion
For the sin of being a woman

She died a thousand deaths

When they tied a rope around her neck
And pulled each end in the name of honor
From Lucknow to Kabul and Quetta
Even in Qahera where she was once Cleopatra
They denied her right to object
And sacrificed her like a lamb for the pride of her father or brother
In the name of culture
For the sin of being a woman

She died a thousand deaths

When they bought and sold her throughout the world
Like a cheap commodity in the fantasy land of men
Who used and abused her
And then threw her away into the waste basket of human cruelty
With a broken spirit and a sick body
To rot and decay
In the name of freedom and democracy
For the sin of being a woman

She died a thousand deaths

When they were covered from head to toe
And then locked behind painted windows
By those proclaiming themselves "the truth seekers"
Who were too blind to see the truth of a women's existence
They let her die a painful death under their tyrannical rule
Behind those black tinted windows
In the name of virtue and Islam
For the sin of being a woman

She will die a thousand deaths

Over and over again indeed
For the sake of escaping the graves of ignorance she was once buried in
For the sake of rising from the ashes that she was once reduced to
For the hope of moving aside the eclipses of wrong belief mistaken for religion
For the wish of carving the name of respect on the body of democracy in every society

She shall die and die again

Until she resurrects to define immortality and resistance of a gender that paradise lays beneath their feet

Her legend will go on with delight
To destroy the obstacles on her way
Until the dawn of a day when
Womankind is truly equal to man
in every way

Writer and Farsi poet Lina Haidari is also a broadcaster on Voice of America of programs focusing on the rights of women in her native Afghanistan. She is married to Wabash alumnus and Afghan First Secretary Ashraf Haidari.




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