Stand

We wage wars on the bellies of our mothers,
Striking lashes on her arnns,
Her face sheathed in dirt,
Covering the bruises our blows have left behind.
The childish games we play bereft of innocence.

In Pakistan female health workers are systematically gunned down,
Their fatal crime providing polio drops to children.

It is estimated that during the Rwandan genocide 500,000 women were raped.
Unpalatable, this figure gets caught on our tongues.
A number critics say does not capture the horror.
Although no number, no matter its size, truly can.

Our TV screens plastered with images of a blue bra from Egypt,
Female activists painted as whores,
Those who dare raise a voice to tyranny.
Exposed in the most vile of ways.

Women that stand with their brothers in protest.
Forced to withstand virginity tests.
Their bodies violated.
Shamed and humiliated.
As the perpetrators are set free by impotent courts.

Still,
We stand,
Subversive,
Channeling the energies of our warrior ancestors,
Nzinga a Mbande,
Jeanne D’arc,
Malalai of Maiwand,
Zenobia
Nusaybah bint Ka’ab,
And Nakaneo Takeko.

The consequences of our revolution far more dire.
Our bodies, our battlefields.
Our protests weigh heavy.
Our silence heavier still

**As published in Women & Environments International Magazine; Dec2013, Issue 92/93, p43 **