As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Enas—Spoken Word


in the 1960s, Algerian revolutionary, Djamila Boupacha was captured by French soldiers and raped with a broken beer bottle

and the one question she asked herself,
“Do you think any man would want me
after I’ve been ruined by that bottle?”

sito says, don’t ever let a man touch you down there
   lazm t7fzy 3la nefsk
                     sharafk ahem she2 3ndk
amity says,  a girl’s virginity is like a match
it’s only lit once
she who gives herself deserves what she gets

the Quran says,
virgins promised to men in paradise
reclining in brocade and silk

إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

scholars say,
do not confuse culture for religion
point fingers at governments, blame corruption
look the other way while women are raped
and then promote open discussion
in one breath tell us we are equal, the next immoral and sinful

we muslimas have the word honor carved into our tongues by the age of nine
so when we first bleed we can’t call ourselves a woman without swallowing those desires
are taught to covet our purity see our virginity as holy
submit quietly when they cut us before we hit puberty

Allah, I looked for you in Tahrir
could not find you
mastered all 99 names of you
chanted them as if I can make freedom out of you

but I find no freedom in having a body that is chained
in burning to fuel a revolution so that men can chant for change

Allah, I will not pray to you

do not ask me to bend to a god who wrote no book for me
whose poetry erased women from my history
who created man and watched as he used bottles to mutilate our bodies

Allah, I do not fear the shaytan
I fear I’ll have daughters and they’ll live in a world where you’re still god

Allah, I learned to love you before I knew I had to love myself
was taught to find peace in your words and seek you when I needed help

Allah, my sisters are dying
and you’re still the last word they say before they close their eyes

I will pray to you when you send down your 100th name
when the prophetess you choose carves it into Djamila’s grave

The Feminist


Arabic Definitions:

sito grandma
amity my aunt
lazm t7fzy 3la nefsk you have to take care of yourself
sharafk ahem she2 3ndk your honor is the most important thing you have
حورية houri
إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ Indeed, this is the great attainment (a line from the Quran)
muslimas female muslims
shaytan the devil

Enas is a Muslim Arab-American who graduated university in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in international human rights. As a poet, her passion is threading the arts into the dialogue of human rights as she believes they can be a profound catalyst for change.

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2017 by .

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