My friend Scott, author of the blog Human Writes, has been for a while following and championing the poetry and life of a Pakistani poet, Maryam Shahbaz, who lives in the city of Sialkot. I’ve been following his posts because, frankly, her work is amazing (and so is his) and I can’t wait until her book of poetry is published so I can have my very own copy as well.
It was with shock and dismay that I read about a bomb going off at an all-woman’s university in the city of Quetta, killing at least one student. The BBC reported:
At least 11 students and have been killed and 22 wounded in a blast on a bus at a university for women in the north-western Pakistani city of Quetta. “It was an improvised explosive device placed in the women university bus,” police chief Zubair Mahmood said. Some attacks are carried out by separatists and others by Islamists who oppose women’s education.
Here in the West artists have the freedom to write or make whatever they want and there are virtually no repercussions. They do not craft work that threatens any established order, they say nothing that is a blasphemy in a world where simply being female and educated is seen as a sin by some, and most importantly, their art changes no lives for the better. Not in real, concrete ways, not like Maryam is trying to do.
My heart and thoughts go out to those hurt and killed in yesterday’s terrorist attack. The dark that surrounds us is a violent and cruel place toward those who try to speak the truth, for those who attempt to change the established order for the better of everyone. No one ever wishes to find themselves in such a world; however, when we do we have a moral obligation to help change it. Even if my personal art does not change anything, I can deeply support those whose art does.
Thank you, Scott, for following the work of this brave poet and thank you everyone who supports Pakistan, feminism and the arts. These are the tools that will help us change future generations for the better. Blessings.