Dear Sir
I request, respectfully, that you listen to me.
I am young
I am female
I am Afghan
Now I realise I do not count because I was born in Afghanistan.
You said we could do it, we could be equal.
You said we could go to school.
You said you’d stand by our side.
Your words of encouragement and promises (now false) mean we will die slowly in history.
No one will remember the young girls who went to school, who learned their abc’s.
Who dreamt of becoming teachers, journalists,politicians.
Who believed it was possible to choose.
To wear summer dresses.
To let our hair shine in the sun.
To sing whatever song we chose.
To dance to the rhythm of our soul.
And today I have to hide who I have become
I have to hide my face.
I have to forget my dreams.
You will forget me, I will not count.
How will you write my history.?
I await your reply


But some of us will rise.
We will go on the streets and show our faces and our shining hair.
We will not go down quietly and disappear.
You may cut us down in our prime but others will take our place.
Stand in unity and SHOUT, SHOUT our needs.
We will embarrass you with our confidence
With our beliefs
With our strength
With our beauty.
We are woman
We are phenomenal woman.

Karen Byrne

Back to the International Women’s Day 2023 collection

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