Thursday, November 3, 2011

Afghan Women’s Writing Project: Silent No More

Since 2009 the Afghan Women’s Writing Project has been giving a new voice to women in war zones who have been enduring extreme hardship. It serves as an outlet for women are being subjugated, forced to remain indoors for fear of being killed by extremists; those who cannot express themselves in any other way.

The project was started by American novelist, journalist and human rights advocate Masha Hamilton. She has been encouraging Afghani women to express themselves with the written word in whatever form they choose. Essays, blogs, poems, whatever helps them get their stories out to the world.

This is crucial not just for the women of Afghanistan, but for the rest of world. Writing is perhaps the most useful tool for expressing yourself. It helps us share our emotions, our private thoughts; our fears, our hopes, our joys and our sorrows. By writing something down on paper we release it to the world. We let it go.

Hamilton has traveled to Afghanistan three times, and lead writing workshops for women while she was there. In return, the women of Afghanistan have responded with heartfelt writing that shows they not have stories to share, they have the very real desire to share them. They want to be heard and Hamilton (and the world) is ready to listen.

One Afghan woman walked for four hours from her home in Logar Province so she could email a poem to the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, a literacy project founded by American novelist Masha Hamilton.

Hamilton – a longtime journalist and human rights activist – shared that poem with a class of Sweet Briar College students Wednesday, kicking off her weeklong visit to campus.

“You say you want to help me, but I tell you you cannot help me,” said Hamilton, reading the excerpt. “I come to Kabul to use the Internet, but my family doesn’t like me to come to Kabul. I would love to go to college but my family doesn’t agree.

“I see the cows can go out, but I am a girl and cannot go out. If I go, Talibs will kill me, and no one will ask why.”

Click here to read more about the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.

1 comment:

Caro said...

Wow. Just... wow. That fragment broke my heart. This sounds like an extremely interesting project, I'd love to know more about it. Thank you for sharing.