A poem by Women in the World summit speaker Suraya Pakzad, an Afghan girls’ education activist. Read our profile of Pakzad
My daughter, my beloved daughter,
you who are my whole life,
the passion of my existence -
lately your gaze has lost it’s light
and I fear you are distancing your heart from mine
ignoring me, even while listening.
Do you fear your mother shamed?
What frightens you?
She who able and aware,
with perseverance her strength,
gallops into the conflict without fear?
She who for love of her country has stirred up waves
and rejecting all the myths, today redraws the boundaries
where our identities are worthless?
What are you asking, my sweet-heart?
Your mother does not need a name;
her name is Woman,
my name, your name and the names of a thousand others
with unfulfilled lives.
Their names, despised and belittled, are discounted,
so many names just as seals on pacts.
Do not be afraid my love, your mother is not alone.
She travels with friends on the path
with one thought, one heart and one journey,
beyond name, beyond life, -
and all are in danger.
We shall prepare the path for you and your children.
We shall fight now so that you shall survive.
We shall die now so that you shall live.
(Translated by Jila Peacock)