THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013
He was a coward but I was too blind to know it.
He used to be my hero
Stand up to the teacher that
Would discredit me and my work
Always coming to my defense with
And other family members
But he didn’t have the balls to stand up to patriarchy
And this new renewed faith that told him he was no man if he couldn’t control his women
He couldn’t stand up to them
He stood no chance to men so strong in number and misogyny disguised as conviction in their faith
We would walk out of our home and me without hijab and his new friend the sheikh would tell ME, my fathers daughter, to go back in the house and cover myself and my father would be standing there silent… As a coward who had no balls to say, no and mind your own business
He said, I embarrassed him
He couldn’t go anywhere because of me
And my shameful behavior
I was 12
What shameful behavior was I capable of?
I just wanted to read and write my poetry. I wanted to dance in the wind with my hair flowing and the sun shining on me… I wanted to feel and experience happiness, like I used to before religion found its way to my father’s mind and corrupted it
A coward he was who wouldn’t stand up for me when the neighbor boys harassed me and got suspended from school for it… He said, I provoked them. He was a coward! How low can you stoop when you accuse your minor daughter of provoking grown men and not stand up for her and vilify their behavior?
Such is the power of patriarchy. It makes a grown man lose his basic instinct to protect his daughter
I wrote this when I was 26 years old. I didn’t edit or change anything about it today when publishing. I thought about fixing errors, or style to make the flow better, but I thought,”it’s better to reflect on the growth that happened between then and now.”
Where was I at 26 and where am I at 31? 5 whole years. That’s a lifetime. I’ve done some growing. I’m a little less angry. Still very angry about female oppression around the world. It’s interesting when you get older and you realize how bad it actually is. Every day, I’m reading about a woman in India gang raped, a women in Italy doused in gasoline and set on fire, women in the Congo ironing the breasts of their girl children in order to prevent sexual assault or from men to look at them in a sexual way, women in my own homeland getting raped and not receiving any justice – at times even be married off to the rapist in order to “cover her shame.” Cover HER shame as though she has done anything wrong by being sexually violated. There is no shame on the rapist. She is the one who has been defiled, her marriage prospects over because,”gabar god ha kaaga jirto mise guri ha kaaga jirto,”(a daughter is better off dead or in a marriage home), her reputation tarnished. That is the state of affairs for women in 2018. The developed world is seeing a reawakening with #metoo campaign holding men accountable. The underdeveloped world is still struggling with basic human rights for women.
So when I look back at being angry at my father for upholding the patriarchy, it dawns on me that he is a victim of it too. “Men greater than him in number.” That’s real. Its hard to stand against the status quo. Who has the physical and or mental strength to deal with it day in day out and continuously fight? And still live, pay your bills, raise your children, and try to have some joy in your life?
Sometimes the fight seems redundant and moot. Tiring.
But the fight must continue.