By Frozan Sarwary
Wake up! I have woken up from ignorance today and I am waking you up so we can walk towards a brighter future together.
From the day that God gave you to me, I have been thinking about how I should raise you so that you are educated and wise and you can stand on your own feet and make your own decisions.
My dear daughter, now that you have turned six years old, I am going to send you to school. I want you to study and continue to seek knowledge no matter how many people discourage you. First and foremost, I hope you learn to take care of yourself. Then, care for your family and community. I want you to be a self-sufficient woman so that your life will be different from those of the women before you. When a woman has these qualities, she can rely on herself and not have to depend on abusive and cruel men. I also want you to know that when you grow up, you are responsible to not only defend your own rights, but also the rights of all women.
My child, I know it will take some time for you to fully grasp the meaning of being a woman and I am not sure if I will be around to explain to you. Some people think that women are weak. They believe that women always need men to take care of them. They think that women are incomplete without men, but that is not true, my love. It is the patriarchal society that portrays women as weak and teaches them to see themselves as less. Never let the way this society views you to make you feel dependent. Our society calls women siasar (black-headed) or naqes-ul-aql (half-brained). They want to portray you as eternally doomed or eternally less, so that they won’t have to pay attention to the root reasons for women’s subjugation. By blaming women for their own issues, they don’t have to take responsibility or forgo of their privileges. Sometimes, even those who claim to support women are in fact themselves problematic and continue to create hurdles for those women who are closest to them.
You must be strong and confident. You are not weak. You should never bow to abuse and oppression. You must be brave and defend your rights. Sweetheart, even if everyone is a wolf, do not pretend to be a deer to become a sacrifice. Be like a bird, spread your wings and fly high above them.
My beloved daughter, you, as a girl, will face lots of challenges and difficulties in this world. I fully understand this. In a society where there is such a stark difference between the girl child and the boy child and most don’t acknowledge the humanity of women, I don’t imagine that being brave and confident will be easy. However, you can be strong and keep your head above the inhumane practices of the community. You can be brave. You can be a hero.
This piece was translated to English by Maryam Laly. A volunteer for Free Women Writers, Maryam is passionate about human rights issues. She has a degree in Government with minors in Peace Studies and Arabic from St. Lawrence University.
Read this piece in Persian here.
Latest posts by Frozan Sarwary (see all)
- A Letter to My Daughter: Be Brave - September 28, 2017
- Afghanistan’s custody laws force women into staying in violent marriages - May 26, 2017