Monthly Archives: February 2016

Stop Victim Blaming

She wants to tell you

About the time she was placed in the back of a car

By someone she loved


The someone she loved turned into someone from a nightmare




She wants to tell you

But you wont believe her

Like his sisters

Like his girlfriend


Everyone who knew him because

It was much easier to ask her

What were you doing there what were you wearing what did you have to drink what were your intentions why would you get in the car why did you answer his calls you must have wanted it well you did love him so maybe you wanted it well do you consider that rape why didn’t you go to the police why didn’t you tell your parents why didn’t you cry for help well did you say no did you scream did you cry did you did you did you did you did you did you did you

Kesha (c.) cries as she learns she will not be released from her record label contract in Manhattan Supreme Court Friday. Kesha's contract requires her to record six more albums for Sony Records.

Kesha sobs as judge keeps deal with alleged rapist producer.. Kesha’s contract requires her to record six more albums for Sony Records.

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Farkhunda’s Dreams

Often when I think of Farkhunda, I think of her dreams. Dreams are those things that connect all of us, and to me, dreams are the driving force of my life. I have such vivid dreams, that they can make or break the rest of my day. I think to myself, what were Fakhunda’s dreams?

I am not a particularly good artist, but I once drew Farkhunda asleep in her bed. With soft eyes on her warm pillow, I drew her dreams, in little makeshift clouds above her head. In one cloud was Farkhunda holding a degree. In another cloud, was the Holy Qur’an, the book she loved so dearly. In another cloud was Farkhunda, with a man beside her, and a baby in her arms.

Like the rest of us, she awoke every morning. Some mornings may have been serene and quiet. This is how I like to imagine her the most. I imagine her hair pulled back into a ponytail. I imagine her softly opening her eyes at dusk. Running water in between her toes during Wuzu. I imagine her soft hands. I see her brushing her hair in a mirror, right before she slips it under her favorite chadar. I imagine it to be burgundy. I imagine her shup-shupping her chai right before she starts her day. This is how I imagine Farkhunda. Everything is soft.

I don’t imagine her brutal ending. In those moments, I cannot imagine that is her. Rather, I see a frightened animal, surrounded by wolves. The ending of her life was not humanity, so, I never imagine it. I refuse.

This doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge what happened to her. But I want to remember her in quiet moments, when she was content with herself. I want to imagine the purple yellow sky of Kabul behind her. I want to imagine the quiet hums of her mornings. I want to imagine the voice of the mullah echoing in her neighborhood. The Farkhunda I remember is a self-determining individual, with all those human things that encompass a complete person. She is so real to me.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is she is not engrained in my mind as a tragedy. Or maybe she would be, but maybe I’m not strong enough to bear that. I never could watch the video of her killing from start to finish, and was absolutely in awe of anyone who could. To me, watching her die was in intrusion. And I couldn’t carry that in my consciousness.

I want it so that her passing brings an awareness of the status of women in Afghanistan. I want her death to go on as a lesson for us all. I want the world to wake up to the crucial and disgusting horror of violence against women. I do not want to sugarcoat her situation or pretend it didn’t happen.

But if we remember Farkhunda as a person, like you and me…maybe if we recognize her humanity, that extends far beyond how she died, or the little third-world war torn country she came from…maybe we will never have another Farkhunda again, because we will understand that all people, that all women are worthy of love.

And that they all have dreams.


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My Grandmothers Bracelets Are Not For Sale

I don’t believe

I can stand

Seeing one more white girl

Wearing my grandmothers necklaces


My heart will shatter

If I find

My grandmothers bracelets

In an Etsy store


Stop calling them “tribal-inspired”

Stop calling them trends


Stop painting your faces

And wearing our beads


Stop adorning your bodies

With the war paint we fought for


And stop flaunting the robes

We sew with pride


I am sick

Of seeing my grandmothers rings at Asos

And tired of seeing henna on pale pale skin


The same pale pale skin that wraps it’s slender fingers

Tightly around the flag of my country


The same pale pale fingers

That cocks a gun to the temple


Of my uncle in Kabul


The same pale pale fingers

That signed a bill

Making it okay to drone my children in their sleep


My people are not a costume

For you to wear at Coachella


My grandmother is not a prop


For you to throw on when your own

lack of culture eats at your core


Stop selling our threads

Overpricing them and painting us all with one brush


We are convenient

When we are beautiful


But when we speak truths and cry tears

And when we plead for our lives and try to


Prove to you we love our children like you do


Prove to you we dream dreams like you do


Prove to you we love freedom like you do


Then we are not beautiful anymore but instead we are


Foreign and desperate and different and


Not you.


So choose


Because I cannot handle watching you


Put us on as costumes when


You refuse to wear our pain simultaneously


When you are the ones perpetuating that same pain


When you are the ones vilifying us to the world


When you are the ones shooting us for thinking differently than you.


My grandmothers bracelets are not for sale


Until you call her your own Bibi

And until


You love her

Like she is


Your own Bibi.


Stop Culture Appropriation


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Sometimes I do not know

If I love to forgive,

Or if my skin

And my heart

Have molded themselves around




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