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Wednesday, January 18, 2023


by Tamam Kahn 

Female students are stopped by Taliban security at a university in Kabul, on 21 December 2022 (AFP via Middle East Eye)

We the Taliban 
will make you 
go quiet. 
We want 
an empty blackboard.
We the Taliban
are erasing the rights 
of each one 
with breasts 
and a vagina 
and a clitoris.
Each girl-student and
female professor 
splashes silenced outrage 
into a ruptured world,
zig-zags suspense 
back and forth 
across her mind,
hides a spaded heart 
raw with hiccups.
Each one cracks open
a brain-leak 
of stories and poems,
stashed backpacks 
of notebooks filled with 
foundational work,
knowledge, science—
all soon to be 
academic ditch-litter.

Tamam Kahn is the author two books on women of early Islam. Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad, (Monkfish Books, 2010), and Fatima’s Touch, (Ruhaniat Press, 2016). Both won International Book Awards. Tamam believes that sharing the lives of women, famous or in difficulty, helps bring awareness and change into today’s difficult times. She lives near San Francisco, California.