AwareNow: Issue 20: The Kind Edition

Page 11

These are the words dedicated to a nation of women who deserve to stand up to be seen and heard without fear. This is ‘I Am A Million Voices’ by Lori Butierries:

I am a million voices.

The voices of scared Afghan women whose dreams were shattered overnight.

The voices of trapped women that now have to stay inside their homes

unless accompanied by a familial male escort or risk being beaten, raped, or killed.

I am a million voices.

The voices of women crying in despair- their sobs rent the air as they are forced into sexual slavery

and unwanted marriages, including young boys and juvenile girls.

The voices of women being ripped from the safety of their homes and their mothers' arms

to be auctioned off on the streets of Kabul to satisfy the unchecked lusts of the Taliban.

I am a million voices.

The voices of women that have been silenced forever

because the dead cannot speak, and their lifeblood drenches the streets.

The voices of women who were executed by stoning or with a bullet to the head

because they violated the Taliban’s dictates regarding women's roles -

even though their version of Sharia was only recently reinstated after 20 years of freedom.

I am a million voices.

The voices of women crying out for help,

begging the US and other NATO forces for a rescue that won’t come.

The voices of a generation of women who have never experienced

these types of restrictions or brutalities before;

women who cannot understand why other countries won't step in and save them from the extremists

because contrary to what’s being said, this is NOT their culture.

So why is the West “respecting” or allowing this kind of treatment then?

I am a million voices.

The voices of rage-filled women wanting justice for what's been done to their families and them.

The voices of women who'd like to march down the streets to protest and fight for human rights

but can't because they don't want to wind up on the Taliban’s hit list.

I am a million voices.

So, even if the Taliban finds and silences me, they cannot dim the sound of the collective voices

denouncing their authority because it resounds deep inside the chest of every Afghan woman,

and the Taliban cannot take away that part of our identity -

they cannot extinguish a rebellion that they cannot hear or see.

May this poem provide hope for all Afghan women who are unseen and unheard. May these words inspire needed change that is long past due. Please read and share: ∎