A phenomenal web presence: Free Women Writers

I came across the Free Women Writers site (freewomenwriters.org) while completing a post on library services in Afghanistan. It features the social commentary and creative writing of Afghan women living in Afghanistan and other countries. On their “About Our Work” page, the authors remark that Afghan women are “often talked about but rarely listened to.” The Free Women Writers have created a life-affirming space that honors Afghan women’s voices and that is empowering to women throughout the world.

There is so much deepness to discover on Free Women Writers that I will not even attempt to summarize it all here. However, there are three features in particular that really moved me and that I feel compelled to highlight.

The first is A Letter to My Younger Self by Sahar Khamoosh that was just published a couple of days ago. In it, Khamoosh conveys the shock, the trauma, and the hard work of transitioning from womanhood into girlhood. This is tough to do in a single letter, but Khamoosh truly nails it, mainly by being honest. “I wish I could promise you that it would get easier. But it simply doesn’t. It gets harder and harder,” she writes. You do not have to have lived Khamoosh’s life to relate to the struggle she describes.

The second is the set of June 7 blog posts in support of Black Lives Matter. I still get emotional when I think about them. That the writers would take the time to express solidarity with Black people in the United States when there is so much turmoil going on in Afghanistan speaks to the depth of their commitment to social justice.

Not only is standing with those demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Mubarak Soulemane, and the countless others killed by police the right and moral thing to do, it’s also essential for our own liberation as people of color.” -from “Why and How Afghans in the Diaspora Must Stand in Solidarity with #Black Lives Matter,” by Noorjahan Akbar, on the Free Women Writers website

The third is actually not a single feature but the poetry selections as a whole. These poems, like the pieces I mention above, are published on the site’s blog, and they are so, so powerful. One of my favorites is “Not More, Not Less, We Want Equality,” by Negin Badakhsh published in 2017. I urge you to read it. And don’t stop with that one, as there are many incredible poems on the blog.

Free Women Writers offers a scholarship for Afghan women and a book called You Are Not Alone for women facing violence. After reading through the Free Women Writers site and writing the piece on library services, I am eager to read more works by Afghan women, especially in the poetry genre.

I hope you will show Free Women Writers some love by visiting their site. I can’t wait to get back to it myself.




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