Because Neda Was Not Given a Proper Burial:
I write these words to give honor to her and the other
who dare the brutality of the Basij and military forces, and
fearlessly raise their voices against crushing tyranny. In the horrific
images of Neda that the world now bears witness to, I know who she
is–her color, the almond shape of her eyes, the raven black hair.
She resembles so many of the women and girls in my father’s family.
And, in truth, I have not always seen those women and other women in
Muslim countries as the embodiment of feminism, or female defiance, or
warrior women. Perhaps I have bought into the rampant Western imagery
of Muslim women as woefully oppressed, or the constant victims of
But Neda’s life and the lives of
the other women marching and protesting in Iran
show me otherwise. Because of them, I see the hjiab, not as a sign of
submission or subordination, but as the symbol of women’s strength.
Neda and her sisters have unveiled to us all the depth, complexity and
steely strength of being female and Muslim.
Neda, if words
alone could give you a proper burial, my words would cover over the
bullet holes left in your chest, wash the blood off your olive-skin,
place a shroud around your too young body, and sing praises to the
angels to open heaven’s gates to a young warrior woman.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Assalamu alaikum. Peace be to you.