For My Sisters Back Home

Across the valley of Bamyan, a woman wakes up before the sun. She dawns a blue burka and stares at her reflection in an old, foggy mirror. Her mother, one generation before her, wore skirts and colorful scarves around her neck.

Miles away, in Kabul, a female member of Parliament struggles to get out of bed. Today, while lobbying for her genders rights, she will be undermined, she will be ridiculed, she will be told she is lesser than. Still, she awakens.

In a tiny shack in Wardak, another daughter is born to a family of four girls. Their mother and father reluctantly hold their new baby in their arms. And, briefly, plot to end her life. She is a burden, not a blessing. But they must love her anyways.

In the north, a fighter jet flies over a poppy field. A young girl of 9 looks up to the sky, and imagines herself as a pilot. She is a dreamer, her father knows this. He cries at night because he knows her dreams will stay in her sleep. She will die a week later from stepping on a mine.

The mother of a Talib fighter looks to her son with pride. “They are the resistance” she tells herself, “they will save our nation”. She will bury what remains of his body that night.

My sisters, my mothers, my daughters back home. Those with strong conviction, those with shattered dreams. Those who awaken before the whole household to prepare what little food is available. Those who fight to create a safer country, who struggle to get out of bed. I wish I was with you and I am sorry I’m not. But tonight I will keep you in my prayers.

<> on September 7, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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