Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's the plan?

In my head, it goes something like this: There’s a place. From the outside it looks as crumbling and rock strewn as everything around it.

On the inside, everything is soft and smooth. There are no sharp edges. The color is blue, the shimmery blue of sea glass and good spas. Tile floors are cool in summer, warm in winter.

Only women live here. And they spend their time singing, cooking, or making things out of bright cloth, colorful thread, and beads. Maybe they just sit. Maybe they put their feet in water.

The women who live here are done.

These women are among the hundreds of northern Afghan women who have set themselves on fire as their only means of escaping lives of misery, brutality, indentured servitude and hopelessness.

I think if you have reached the point where you douse yourself in cooking fuel, light a match, and survive, there’s nothing more to be asked of you. Breathe in, breathe out. Be safe. And never again feel rough, sharp, or hot against your skin.

I’m not naïve. I know this isn’t how it’s done. I also know I am one woman, in the west, who’s not wealthy, connected or political. But I’m also one woman, in the west, who has reached the point where I can no longer continue with this. This is where I stop: Too many things enrage me or defeat me.

At a loss for where to begin, I write a check.

Subscribing, reading, posting, listening, watching, the world on fire. So many women pushed to the ground, faces in the dirt, skirts around their waists. Dangerous daughters of Diana.

Women on fire, burning, itching, raging, clawing at the air like blind cats.

What’s the plan? Because there has to be one.

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