Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hello all my fellow readers here at Bluebell.

I have something very special for you to consider today. A lot of us read here because we are also writers and poets with tremendous respect for the process of trying to create with words.
For most of us our greatest hardship in our own writing is finding time to write, or perhaps the always troublesome “writers block” that occurs occasionally.
But what if the very act of writing itself was denied you? If your actual physical well being was put in jeopardy were you to put pen to paper. Sound far fetched in todays world?
Well sadly enough, its not. Consider this article that appeared in the New York Times recently about the status of women writers and poets living in war torn Afghanistan.
There is some measure of tolerance and protection if you live in a big city and are a part of the upper echelon of its society. This is not always the case however. Consider the story of  Herat University’s celebrated young poet, Nadia Anjuman, who died in 2005, after a severe beating by her husband.
She was 25.
 The most risk occurs where women live in rural areas, where social rules are much stricter and male members operate as a law unto themselves. The article introduces us to the family of  Zarmina, a young and talented poet who committed suicide in response to the censure and beatings of male family members over her poetry and includes a photo of her mother sitting by her grave.
It is interesting to note why writing poetry is considered to be under a stigma. The answer  is sadly succinct:“A poem is a sword,” Saheera Sharif,  said. Sharif is not a poet but a member of Parliament from the province of Khost. Literature, she says, is a more effective battle for women’s rights than shouting at political rallies. “This is a different kind of struggle.”
In spite of the overwhelming risk and inherent danger, creativity is alive and flourishes in an underground fountain of grace and humor, sadness and exalting, the same basic elements of poetry worldwide.

Lima is a young woman who had recently won a  literary prize. When she was 11, she began writing poems addressed to God.
“I started reading them to my father,” Lima said. My father doesn’t know much about poetry.”
Lima is one of the fortunate ones. Her father, an engineer, sends his daughters to a class weekly to learn to write. “He gave me this,” she said. She held up a blue plastic notebook embossed with the words “Healthnet — Enabling People to Help Themselves.”
Lima stood to recite her latest poem: a rubaiyat, the Arabic name for a quatrain, addressed to the Taliban.
You won’t allow me to go to school.
I won’t become a doctor.
Remember this:
One day you will be sick.
The women in the group were asked if any of them liked poetry. As soon as the question was translated, a wisp of a woman leapt to her feet and began what looked like freestyle rapping in Pashto. She shook her bony shoulders to four-beat lines that ended in a rhyme of “ma” or “na.” Gulmakai was 22 but looked 45. She made up poems all the time, she explained, as she cooked and cleaned the house. She said,
“Making love to an old man is like
Making love to a limp cornstalk blackened by fungus.”
The women roared with surprised laughter, which,  hearing the poem in translation, took a minute to understand (the first, sanitized version offered was something like “Being married is like corn”). “I know this is true,” she announced. “My father married me to an old man when I was 15.” She tried to say something else, but the workshop leader, a man, silenced her.
Amail, another young poet and a close friend of the recently deceased poet Zarmina, says that she always  assumed that someday the resourceful young poet would reach the relative freedom of Kabul. “She used to say you are the luckiest people since you can meet with your friends openly,” Amail said. “You can learn from your mistakes and write better poems.”
Flipping through her notebook, she found a poem she wrote after Zarmina’s suicide, called “The Poet Who Died Young”:
“Her memory will be a flower tucked into literature’s turban.
In her loneliness, every sister cries for her.”
The article this information was drawn from is here:
If you are one who loves to read, take a moment to savor your freedom to do so and if you are a writer, write something in your own wonderful style.
Just because you can!
That’s all till next time,

1 comment:

Unknown said...

this is sharp,

Glad to see you highlight these women poets.