Everything Is Smiling but My Soul

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Tonight I see a dark sky, shiny stars, and green plants. Everywhere seems quiet and peaceful, but my heart is crying for my destiny. My wishes have been burned to ashes.

My parents shocked me earlier today when during dinner they began discussing my marriage to a man who is about ten years older than me. I tried to defend myself by telling them, “I want to complete my studies.”

My mother replied, “Who told you not to study? You can continue your studies after your marriage. However, you will not need to because this man is very rich. Everything you require is available for you in his home, so stop arguing. This is our final decision. You have to marry him.”

My father called the man for tea. He arrived 20 minutes later with his family. The engagement ceremony was scheduled for a week later. It shocked and completely depressed me, and when I saw him my eyes were filled with tears, but I couldn’t do anything. He is not a bad guy; he respects my feelings, but I never wished to marry a man I didn’t love. It is my destiny. My life changed to a dark shade in one night.

My dream was to complete my studies, become an educated woman, be a well known person, support my family, and be on my own. When I presented my essay about my dreams in front of the class at school today my teacher praised me and encouraged me to write more. She said, “My daughter, try harder in your studies and I am sure you will have a bright future.”

I was so happy and excited to hear these words from my teacher, but tonight my destiny took me onto a totally different path, and all of my wishes perished. Although life is like a beautiful butterfly, being forced into marriage changed it into hell. I am feeling like I am a bird with no wings.

I am stuck between these two paths and don’t know what to decide. If I reject this marriage, I will lose my family. But if I accept this marriage, I will have dug a grave for all of my wishes. Without those dreams my life is meaningless; therefore sometimes I think the only way is to end my life. But the pitiful fact that there are many other women suffering from similar conditions, while currently I am taking my breaths, drags me back and provokes me to fight. The ultimate way is not suicide, but together we have to make Afghan people realize that women are not a property for sale or slaves whose purpose is to do housework.

I wonder why women have to stand a step behind the men, why we have to do everything our husbands and families say. What is the Afghan woman’s sin that we have to tolerate all these social problems?

Is there anyone to stop this senseless system, so that Afghan women don’t suffer anymore from these cruelties? Is there anyone who can give us our rights, our independence? Is there anyone who can make Afghan men realize that if there were no women then no one would be living in this world?

We women must have the right to make our life’s decisions. Our purpose is not to be slaves and produce children; but as Afghan women, we belong to and are living in a restrictive society with many oppressive traditions. We have to tolerate many harrowing situations and be patient with every cruelty. We have to be silent when others make the wrong decision for us—forcing us into marriage, not allowing us to get an education, not allowing us to work or spread our voice.

Although we feel that the world is intolerable, we have to be patient and live in fear.

About the author


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