In 1999, journalist and novelist Masha Hamilton happened to come across a video on the AP wire of Zarmeena, a mother of seven who was executed by the Taliban in Kabul. She became fascinated with this woman and wanted to know the details. Was this an act of courage? Was she really a criminal? How could she be honored? In 2004 Masha Hamilton visited Afghanistan for the first time and in trying to find out more, she came across this realization- “not only were women hidden beneath burqas, but their stories were silenced…the voices of women were primarily available only through the media or their men; we heard little from them directly.”
Under the belief that telling one’s story is a human right, Masha started the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.
“I cannot say how important I think this is in a country where women have been told their stories do not matter, and urged to be silent, and warned against honesty.”
Women come together with mentors, are given access to internet and computers, taught English and encouraged to share their stories through writing. This beautiful piece was written by Farishta from an eastern province of Afghanistan. The strength of her words show why every woman should have a voice.
My country has mountains
And bears many fruits
My country is like a mother
We must defend
People must serve our country
Because without our people
Our country has nothing
If we have peace, everyone can study
And we will develop our country