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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry

Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry



Like many of the rural members of Mirman Baheer, a women’s literary society based in Kabul, the girl calls whenever she can, typically in secret. She reads her poems aloud to Amail, who transcribes them line by line. To conceal her poetry writing from her family, the girl relies on a pen name, Meena Muska. (Meena means “love” in the Pashto language; muska means “smile.”) 

Meena lost her fiancé last year, when a land mine exploded. According to Pashtun tradition, she must marry one of his brothers, which she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t dare protest directly, but reciting poetry to Amail allows her to speak out against her lot. When I asked how old she was, Meena responded in a proverb: “I am like a tulip in the desert. I die before I open, and the waves of desert breeze blow my petals away.” She wasn’t sure of her age but thought she was 17. “Because I am a girl, no one knows my birthday,” she said.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/magazine/why-afghan-women-risk-death-to-write-poetry.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all


2 comments:

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Wow. That really is commitment to poetry.

pottygok said...

It's a shame that we only get snippets of these poems. What's here is rich enough that I want more. I wish there were more presses publishing translations so that we could read the wealth of the world.

Cited...

The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau