A World without Violence

Zahra W.

I sat at a corner with my back to the wall.
I touched my face with my trembling hands.
My mom came with a cup of water and a towel.
She cleaned and caressed my face.

Her tears were non-stop.
“I wish your dad hadn’t treated you and your brother differently.
If you were treated the same, your brother wouldn’t hit you.
I am tired of discrimination, disrespect, and abuse.”

She wiped the tears off her face and continued,
“My brother would beat me.
Your brother beats you now.”

Through my pain, I smiled bitterly at my mom.
I also dream of a world without violence,
A world where every woman has rights,
Where there are no barriers,
And I can go to school,
A place where when I am courageous, they don’t call me “manly,”
And I will not cover the bruises on my face with makeup.

I will build the world that I dream about.
Mom, you brother was beating you,
And my brother is beating me,
But I will not let my son to beat his sister.

Note: In Afghanistan, the word “Mardana” literally meaning manly, is used to describe brave men and women.

Read this piece in Persian here.

Zahra Wakilzada

Zahra Wakilzada

A member of Free Women Writers, Zahra is a sophomore in high school and an aspiring writer and poet.
Zahra Wakilzada

Latest posts by Zahra Wakilzada (see all)

About our book: Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr Youtube Linkedin

Daughters of Rabia is a collection of Afghan women's writings in defense of their human rights. The book was published by two Afghan activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Batul Muradi, in 2013. Following the book's success and distribution in six provinces in Afghanistan, Noorjahan Akbar created the Free Women Writers blog to continue publishing women's writings in Persian, Pashtu and Uzbeki. Since then, the blog has expanded to include hundreds of articles, poems, narratives, essays and paintings about gender equality, environmental concerns, economic inequality, democracy and other social justice issues. With a weekly readership of more than thirty thousand, the blog has reached tens of thousands of Afghans. This website is the English translation of these writings. Read the Persian book here: