For Malala

On Sunday afternoons,
My father would weave stories of honour.
Like those whose family trees are rooted in foreign lands,
I was taught of my heritage.
I would learn of my ancestry,
My forefathers,
My line.

As my mother would kiss me on my forehead,
She would whisper “you are a Pukhtun and a Yusufzai
this blood running through your veins carries with it obligation,
you fight for honour,
my child,
you are a warrior”

So, I imagine, little Malala was told,
Our women are accustomed to carrying burdens heavy for our slender shoulders,
We have learnt long ago that honour is ours to protect,
So we load our backs with the expectations and hopes of our fathers.

Only 11 years old,
When she lit a candle in the darkness,
Defiant and bold,
True to her namesake who fought the battle of Maiwand,
As a child,
She did what most grown men would not.
Fear was as foreign to her as the two bullets that ripped into her young flesh,

Little Malala,
Innocent Malala,
Brave beyond her years,
It was the name I had hoped to give my daughter.

A veritable Pukhtun woman,
And revolution is carried in our wombs.