April 15th, 2015

Private Parts | HART Prize for Human Rights

Winning entry in the HART Prize for Human Rights Junior Creative Category

Please Note: this entry is a poem about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sudan and the content may be triggering.

PRIVATE PARTS
-Kashi Syal

Her worn battered palm

caresses my forehead,

she

hushes my wails

ignores my tears

Tradition?

Another hand, this time

cool, firm,

an aggressive

grip. Clutches my wrists and

pulls them over my head

onto the angareb.

Dignity?

More hands

More gold bangles

New voices:

Murmurs

Secretive

Whispers

Reticent

As though there is something wrong.

Something wrong with me?

“her legs, open them

wider

wider

WIDER”

Hands clench my thighs,

hers block the light,

I see the dome like roof

which is coated in mud

through the cracks and the gaps

of her fingers and thumbs.

She presses down my eyelids

yet my tears

still escape the confines

of their prison.

“Insh’Allah,” they cry

“Honour your father’s name-

your mother and sisters

were younger than you

and did not weep or kick,

ghalfa

nighsha

jabaan”

they spit.

Decency?

“Don’t be afraid,” they chorus

without faltering,

their voices synonymous

with the submissive wife.

Subjugated?

And then

fingers

invade my

private parts.

Open me to the public,

rip my nudity apart;

there is nothing left of me.

And then

A Knife?

A Shard of Broken Glass?

A Razor?

A Needle?

Fingernails?

Something sharp

pierces my flesh.

Up.

Down.

Up.

Down.

My screams

bounce off the walls of the hut

and ring in my ears,

it is not the proper way to behave.

And then

they cut again,

bare hands, holding sharp objects

which remove

the dirt

the filth

everything which makes me unclean.

They will make me a woman.

“cut this, cut that” I hear them speak of my

private parts.

As though they

are of no relevance,

only for a man

on our wedding night.

Purity?

“Remove her clitoris”

“Cut this”

“What use is it anyway?”

“She will be the perfect wife”

And then

with a needle,

they weave

a thorn

in

and out

and in

and out

of the sides of my

private parts.

Stitching them together,

ten in total,

each a year of my life.

Time passes.

I marry.

I am pure.

He checks before we sleep.

It hurts.

I am pure.

I give birth.

It hurts.

I am pure.

I learn,

that it

is impolite

to ask a woman

about her

private parts.

And then

we are labelled:

hypersexual

undesirable

unattractive.

No acknowledgement

of our sacrifice.

“My daughter must” her father says.

Tradition.

I place her delicate body

onto the angareb.

Dignity.

She wails

and I see the tears

glistening on her cheeks.

There is something wrong.

Something wrong with me.

“Insh’Allah,” they recite

“Be brave-

your mother did not weep as you do,

ghalfa

nighsha

jabaan”

they sing.

But I watch

and say nothing,

the dutiful wife.

Subjugated.

And so

fingers

prize open her

private parts.

And so

The Knife.

The Shard of Broken Glass.

The Razor.

The Needle.

The Fingernails.

Something sharp

cuts into her

to make her clean.

Purity.

With a needle,

they weave

a thorn

in

and out

and in

and out

of the sides of her

private parts.

Stitching them together,

five in total,

each a year of her life.

And so

the cycle

continues

 


Disclaimer: This blog is a space for discussion and personal reflection. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and are not necessarily held by HART. Individual authors are responsible for the accuracy of statements made within the blog.

Kashi Syal

By Kashi Syal

Winner of the HART Prize for Human Rights Junior Creative Category


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