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.