A poem by Marwa Sharafeldin. Part of a series of poems by African feminist writers for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.
Read this poem in Arabic.
- Who alone is carrying the responsibility of her five kids
- Struggling for a contented morsel of bread
- Who works and studies, and doesn't even ask me about her meagre salary
- Who takes the bus every day and tries to stay away from all these vile harassing hands
- Who is carrying the whole country upon her shoulders in the ministry, the company, the home and the street...and in all matters personal and discreet
- Tell them who you are, tell them: I’m strong and invincible
- I know how to be tough, but I also know how to be tender
- Children of my country I carry you in my eyes, girls and boys, men and women
- But do I have to always act docile to be called an Eastern woman
- Do I always have to say yes to be recognized as a true Egyptian woman?
- Work and travel and leadership positions I occupy
- And we’re still saying: it must be a woman badly driving that car!
- Trousers or skirts, as if the difference matters
- Please be quiet and let the girls’ better school grades tear you to tatters!
- I have a live thinking brain, and an able working hand, so beware of it!
- Inside the house or outside of it, my work takes strength, patience and intelligence
- I am just like you, son of my country, I work and tire and yearn for love
- My family, my country and those I love sit comfortably cross-legged in my heart
- You and I stand beside each other, helping to once again build our beautiful country
- But if you dare tell me: be quiet, sit down, obey what I’m telling you woman!
- I’ll quietly, yet smugly, tell you: see you soon then my little apprentice
- In the world wide halls of the international courts of justice...
Read other articles in the series, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2012.