A poem by Zahra Wakilzada

The violence burns like Australian bushfires
From Afghanistan to America
Hate tortures and kills
Every age and race.

It is painful
To read about
The persecution
Hazaras in Afghanistan
Uyghur Muslims in China
Black people in America.

It is painful
When your motherland
Sees you as a threat
Despite being in your house,
Worshipping your God,
Jogging outside.

It is painful
That your right to live
Is decided by the privileged
Because of your identity.

It is painful
That you say your every goodbye
like it is your last
knowing your constitution does not protect you.

It is painful
To answer with full respect
While you watch them insult you
And use slurs.

It is painful
Not to speak up
Because you promised your mom
You would not let their bullets target your heart.

It is painful
To hear stories
And try to keep your five-year-old’s world beautiful
Despite knowing he will feel the pain through personal experience.

It is painful
To convince yourself that you are not next
As you hold a picture of your loved one
cry yourself to sleep.

It is painful
To continuously scream:

Do not hate!

Do not attack!

Do not kill!

About the Author: Zahra Wakilzada is a human rights activist and a public speaker. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University planning to major in Government and an aspiring writer and poet who first began to publish her work at the age of 14. Zahra strongly believes that writing is resistance and can bring change.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart