Thursday, September 19, 2013
Imagining These Words Matter
I am blogging in the Crab Grass Garden. It begins to rain. I laugh. Then think of them. The mother and daughters murdered in Pakistan a few weeks ago for making a film of themselves outside in the rain laughing. The mother showed the film she made of her daughters to a friend who showed it to her male relatives. The men were outraged, broke into her home in the middle of the night and shot them all dead. Mainstream (patriarchal) culture called it an honour killing. The mainstream press never covered it. Bloggers wrote about it and I read about it at Global Voices Online. The rain keeps misting down and I wonder, what exactly was it about the film that drove the men to murder? I remember a clip of the offending film on Global Voices. In it the girls were dressed conservatively though their faces were uncovered. As for laughing, they barely cracked a smile, they giggled then stopped. I realize, it wasn’t what was in the film that pissed them off. It wasn’t the creative act either. Not the mother’s act of picking up the camera, or turning it on her daughters and encouraging them to smile. It was not that she archived the little film, not even that she showed it to friends that enraged them. The rain keeps on falling lightly around me and I realize with certainty, it was the idea of creating the film that got them killed. They died because of that single, fleeting moment when one of them said, Imagine making a film of ourselves! Imagine seeing ourselves in a film! Imagine! In the patriarchy the womanish imagination is illegal and the penalty is death. I am blogging in the rain in the Crab Grass Garden, imagining these words matter, imagining bringing this blog back to life with writings that say something about the power of writing to challenge an unjust status quo, imagining the new poems I will write, the ones to protest misogyny, hyper-fundamentalist father god religions and the 200 million girls gone missing in the world that no one talks about. Imagining poems I will write to protest my own government’s failure to pass laws and implement policies that improve women’s lives. Imagining my words had the power to change things. Where I live, I can imagine myself writing and publishing a blog, then do it, and no one will want to kill me for it. But I don’t take my freedom for granted. Not for one minute.I dedicate these words to that mother and her daughters, because perhaps they knew what was going to happen. Perhaps they decided it was worth it.