The [Crocodile] Tears for Afghanistan’s Women — Zimarina Sarwar

Bismillahir Rahmānir Raheem.

From Islam21c.com.

“Vowing to save Afghan women

While bombing them.”

“The issues central to their lives did not revolve around the Western obsession of whether or how much they cover, but harsh realities much more foundational. The loss of husbands, brothers, and fathers due to the fighting not only generates complex psychological trauma, but also fundamentally jeopardizes their economic survival and ability to function in everyday life. Widows and their children are thus highly vulnerable to an array of debilitating disruptions due to the loss of male family members.”

To many people, it seems, the matter at hand is reducible to… what women wear. As ‘simple’ as: covered woman, terribly ‘oppressed’ by Shari’ah law. Woman in ‘Western liberal’ clothing, liberated! Huzzah! Even when this is done forcefully, like it is in France.

A very recent memory of the day we heard that Kabul had fallen to the Taliban: so many people talking about it. A woman putting her phone against a wall/bush or something, in order to video call someone. Something like: “Oh, it’s awful, isn’t it?” And, yet again, the way that hijabi Muslim women are looked at. Either: why on Earth would you?! or: you need rescuing. A mixture of ‘pity’ and disdain, and I wonder if women in Afghanistan are looked upon in rather the same sort of vein.

“Where were the tears for Afghan women and girls when reports of Western war crimes were being suppressed? Reports of British soldiers killing children and proven cases of deaths in custody, beatings, torture, and sexual abuse of Afghan civilians are all extremely alarming incidents which have received little attention (let alone tears) thus far.”

“Or consider when Australian Elite troops had 400 people witness prisoners, farmers, and civilians be killed, with even more egregious crimes committed, including:

  • – Junior soldiers were told to get their first kill by shooting prisoners, in a practice known as “blooding”.
  • – Weapons and other items were planted near Afghan bodies to dress them up as militants and cover up crimes.
  • – Additional incidents that constitute war crimes and fall under the rubric of “cruel treatment” were committed.”

“Only when the rage and concern for Afghan civilians remains strong and consistent for all injustices – no matter who the perpetrators are – then the flowing liberal tears for Afghanistan’s people might be worth their salt.”

For example, what might ‘justify’ this:

Where are those similar tears for these, of Afghani men?

Who determines what the ‘ideals’ of ‘civilisation’ are, and do their (ironically quite ‘uncivilised’) means justify their ‘ends’?

I want to learn more about the situation in Afghanistan, Insha Allah. If anybody could direct me towards any resources pertaining to the pre-2000s Taliban, the 2001 invasion and American presence there, the Taliban of today, links between these conflicts and the Crusades, maybe: please do.


With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.

#TwoMinutePoetryChallenge

I wrote this poem in the space of two minutes and I challenge my readers to do the same.


Look outside.

Are the clouds weeping? Do they share my sorrow?

Or does the world simply go on?

Did the sun rise today? Did the winds still blow?

Did time just carry on as though

Everything is okay?

Did the birds sing this morning? I would not know,

For their symphonies continue to be cancelled out by my desire to hear nothing.

Tell me: did the trees sway in the breeze today? Did they notify you of their reluctance to bear fruit at this hour?

Why must we wait for things? Why do we challenge ourselves to wait to escape?

Patience reflects delusion and a false sense of

Immortality.

Are we all just kidding ourselves?

We are all just kidding ourselves.

Look outside. The clouds are weeping, but they do not share my sorrow.

I am here, encapsulated in a universe that is neither happy nor sad, yet here I am,

Embodying (compensating for)  its lack of happiness and sadness,

All at once.

Like how the clouds gush tears of neutrality, I cry tears of happiness, sadness

and everything in between.

 


Sadia Ahmed, 2016

Steaks and Salads

Assalamu ‘alaikum. Please note that I wrote this particular article when I was 14. My views on many things, as I have come closer to my Deen, acquiring more Islamic knowledge (Alhamdulillah) have changed a lot since then.

TODAY I vowed to abstain from steaks and other poisonous (though delicious) samples of junk food. My reason for this sudden and surprising change is due not to self-consciousness and an overwhelming desire to be as skinny as a twig: nay, I simply wish to evade and significantly reduce the risk of having severe health issues in the future.

I made this decision after seeing my uncle Safwan after a while: he is younger than me by a month, though way taller. Recently, he decided to go on a diet- or rather, a fitness regime, as he likes to call it. Safwan was once one of those people who’d have third, sometimes fourth, helpings of food for dinner. Now, he only eats peanuts, salads and fruit. At first, I was appalled. 

We went ice-skating today, and Safwan came along. After skating for twenty minutes or so, we stopped at Tesco, in order to purchase a few drinks and snacks for the journey home. While the rest of us indulged in Oreos, Galaxy bars and Lucozade, Safwan bought water. A teenager going to Tesco to purchase water. 

Later on, we had lunch at a grill restaurant. I enjoyed buffalo wings and steak chips, and even assisted my cousins in finishing their meals. Meanwhile, Safwan ate one piece of grilled chicken with an abundance of salad. Suddenly, I realised that, however delicious junk food may be, our bodies are precious gifts from Allah, and deserve nutritious foods. It was after that highly-fulfilling meal that I became determined to eat healthy, and perhaps engage in some more strenuous physical activity every once in a while. 

To test my own commitment, during dinner with my father and his friend, I ordered a Greek salad and mango smoothie. This was the ultimate test for me; I am usually a girl who’d favour chicken over anything, and my father had taken us to a steak-house of all places. I forced myself to eat the salad at first, but later began to enjoy it, at least relatively. I resisted the urge to eat anything detrimental, but then gave in to the temptation of steak chips, but only a few. 

Right now, I feel absolutely great; I wonder whether this feeling will last.

© Sadia Ahmed 2015

A Question of Gender

Assalamu ‘alaikum. Please note that I wrote this particular article when I was 14. My views, as I have come closer to my Deen, acquiring more Islamic knowledge (Alhamdulillah) have changed a lot since then.

Since the age of four or five, I have always considered myself a ‘tomboy’, and would always argue vehemently if someone called me ‘girly’ or ‘feminine’. These terms are usually associated with being dainty, polite and graceful, and having an intense admiration of the colour pink. I am not so dainty or polite, and am about as graceful as a physically unstable elephant. I am fond of all colours, however pink is not exactly a favourite of mine. Can I still be considered feminine?

According to the Oxford dictionary, the definitions of ‘feminine’ is as follows:

Having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.

Relating to women.

If this is the case- if the genuine definition of the word ‘femininity’ simply means ‘relating to women’, there can never exist a prototypical woman, not in this day and age. According to the second definition of ‘femininity’, women who have pixie cuts, women who have long hair, women who cover their hair, women who enjoy wearing sweatpants and T-shirts, Jewish women, Muslim women, women who enjoy wearing make-up and skinny jeans, transsexual women, sporty women, tough women, outspoken women, shy women, smart women, wild women, women who are obsessed with pink, women who are obsessed with black- these women are all feminine, simply because they are women. However, the lives they choose to lead should not be defined by this term,  for a singular adjective can never wholly define a completely unique being.

I am often considered ‘masculine’ and a ‘tomboy’ purely because I happen to express myself freely, and feel comfortable in sporty clothes. When I wear a tinge of makeup, my aunts ignorantly comment, “You look more like a girl!” I am not ‘masculine’, for I am not a male. The term ‘femininity’ for me is completely subjective to each individual woman. I am ‘feminine’ solely because I am a woman. I do not believe the term should come with a set list of rules, expectations and prejudicial associations.

I am a female. I am therefore feminine. Calling me ‘masculine’ or otherwise will never dissuade me from being who I am.

Please share your personal opinions below!


Thanks for reading!

© Sadia Ahmed 2015