Our students in Shatila and Bourj el Barajneh invited their mothers to a celebration marking the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. They performed poetry, spoken word, and a play, written and performed by themselves.
Here is one of the poems, by Amal al-Khalaf, 16, that gripped the audience.
Women are bold educated thinkers
But why do you call her an ignorant useless female?
Stop the violence, man!
Is this what you call manliness to insult a woman as if she were a piece of furniture that has no value?
The woman is the candle of the house, and if you extinguish it,
the house becomes dark and an evil beast might enter it.
Woman, you have the right to be treated with love and respect by your community
So why do you live in a society full of frustration, ignorance, despair?
Woman, you have the right to express your opinion
So how long will you remain silent in this society?
How long will you keep wearing the black abaya to hide the fingerprints of brutal beatings?
Wake up from this nightmare
Cry out bravely and wake up from this nightmare, stand up
Woman, for your rights, and break the silence.
The days are joyful for men, but yours are filled with sadness.
You are forbidden to walk under the blue sky and in green nature.
For them, you are a reproductive machine and a fun game at night.
You carry your burden, now carry your responsibilities.
Come on, woman, you are a role model
Develop, progress and don’t destroy.
Change and change others, and do not regret what is in the past,
because you are able to change
a generation for the better.