CONDEMNED! – a poem

by Zeenath Jahan
Dedicated to all the girls slaughtered at their fathers and brothers false ‘honour’.

I call out in the peopled emptiness

Mouthing my words to the hearing deaf,

Shaking the babbling mute to speak up,

For each sordid crime against a woman;

Deafening silence, greets my plea

“Won’t you love your female child?”

The girl born to your house that night

The mewling helpless little babe

Reaching out in faith and trust

Not seeing the gun hid behind your back!

Do you remember her joyous, high-pitched squeals,

When you threw her in the air in play?

And did her shrieks not rend your heart

When she prayed for her life that fateful day?

Do you remember her first lisped word, ‘Baba’

While looking at you with love in her eye?

And were not those eyes dark and puzzled,

When you lifted the gun, against the darkening sky?

Do you remember the warm little hand in yours

When you took her to the fair to add to her joy?

Did she raise that hand in prayer that day

When you took her life in such a blinding rage!

And why did you do such a horrible deed?

And how do you sleep in your bed each night

Warm and soft and full of ease

While your daughter fills a hole in the ground,

Unmourned, unloved and unmissed?

What was the crime she paid for so dearly?

What excuse do you have for this hour so darkly?

She had chosen her mate the day they first met!

Dreaming happy dreams, she had hummed all day

Never thinking this day she would live to regret

Never knowing Love was such a dire threat

She never wanted the one you marked for her

(A stranger she did not even like!)

But you denied the choice she proclaimed

Putting a bullet through a heart filled with Love.

Whoever thought Love would be the sad crime

The crime that she suffered for so cruelly

In blood and sorrow, tears and shame

For you believed your ‘honor’ betrayed!


Filed under baluchistan, Literature, poetry, violence, Women, Writers

7 responses to “CONDEMNED! – a poem

  1. sad to think that 1400 odd years down the road we still live in the time of jahiliya.
    sad to think that we blame religion for such cold and callous deeds, rather than the misguided fools who preach misogyny in the name of religion.

    not that i’m one to talk, being but barely religious. barely. (if, indeed, at all.)

    i have three wonderful daughters, and i wouldn’t trade them for all the tea in nuwara eliya. i remember that immediately after my first was born (here in dubai) an ancillary worker came into the delivery room (to clean up if i’m not mistaken). she asked, in hindi, “so what did you have?”

    “a girl!” i said, still dazed from the whole delivery experience (my wife was totally shattered, having been admitted 30 hours earlier). “oh,” she replied, trying to console us, “koi baat nahin, larkiyan bhi achhi hoti hein!”

    i tried to explain to this lady from india (whose religious background i knew not) that we were ecstatic, and that we had both been looking forward to having a girl. (i had not wanted to know what the prenatal ultrasounds had revealed.) but the poor woman just couldn’t seem to understand this strange logic. she left the room still attempting to console us. i’m sure if the woman had been pakistani we would have got a similar response.

    if anything, we seem to be becoming more of a patriarchal society, ever more parochial. to my mind it stems from the continual eroding of all our institutions save for the institution of religious extremism (not fundamentalism, which in and of itself is not a necessarily a bad thing), into which institution is channelled all the frustrations and disappointments and discontentment faced by the large majority of pakistan’s increasingly marginalised avaam.

    we have become a nation of stray dogs, ever foraging for scraps; ever wet-dreaming of being the first in line to mate with a bitch in heat; wagging our kinky tails nineteen to the dozen when condescendingly acknowledged by well-bred inbred pedigree-chum-fed specimens of our yelping species; growling at strangers; scavengers concerned only with the moment, the future too complicated an issue to tax our narrowly-focused greying matter with.

    woof, woof.

  2. Yes, a child whether a girl or a boy is a miracle and a blessing. I cant imagine how anyone can kill their own daughter for fear of what ‘people will say’ which is generally at the bottom of it all. People!

  3. jz

    Im glad you published her poem…..shes written some marvelous ones that need mass circulation..

  4. Shaheryar Ali

    Lovely lines

  5. Good piece. We must all unite all violence against women.

  6. Maureen

    To know that you are worthless enough that you can be killed – by gun, or kicked, alive into a dirt grave, or a knife to the throat because of your disobediance. Honor doesn’t factor into these deaths in ANY way. Fear is a great control to use.

  7. Vandana

    We in the sub continent will always find reasons to ill treat our daughters.If you have honor killing in Pakistan,Jordan and other countries then India has the wide spread practice of aborting female foetuses after pre natal gender tests.Then there are issues of dowry deaths and killing of infant girls……it seems our daughters will continue to”fill a hole in the ground’ unless and until a radical change in the mindset takes place but who will bring the change………not the men,not the clergy for sure………..