Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Women's rights are not a favor

Basman Derawi | 05-03-2020

 

Painting by Malak Mattar

Noura
The other day, I heard her speak. 
A lawyer, an expert 
on the tools used by oppressors.
Speaking up for human rights,
Palestinians and women.
Proud of her Palestinian 
and Muslim heritage;
her brown skin 
and her flowing, uncovered hair.

Amera
Like my mother, 30 years ago.
She chose to cover,
and yet is strong like a tree
that refuses to bend.
Raising me and four siblings alone,
mother and father all in one.

Safaa
She was a wife and mother,
fleeing her home due to 
her husband’s taunts and beating.
Yet she returned, 
staying loyal to her three children.
The cost: He hung her.

Israa
She was a sister, a daughter, a cousin,
a makeup artist and a romantic.
She posted an image with a potential suitor. 
Haram! her family said.
She was beaten to death by her brothers,
Her screams couldn't save her.
They claimed to kill her for honor.
But is there honor in killing?

To every man who thinks
he has privileges over a woman:

If you have the right to control your body,
Why doesn’t a woman?
If you have the right to choose,
Why doesn’t a woman?
If you make mistakes and simply shrug,
Why can’t a woman?

To every woman:
Stay strong like Noura and Amera.
Demand what you deserve:
Your life,
your rights,
are not favors,
they are yours. 

Posted: March 5, 2020

Mentor: Pam Bailey


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