The Face of a Young Woman of the World

Maryam ShahbazI sent my friend Maryam an e-mail…wanted to make sure she didn’t mind me using her picture in this piece.  A female activist in her country was recently assassinated for audaciously using words to call attention to the suffering in her land.  There’s money and power in misery, and those who try to pull the plug on the money machine will pay…with their lives, if necessary.  I didn’t want to put my friend in any such danger.  She is a poet, and she has a voice, and she is a woman, and…she’s from the dangerous and demonized nation of Pakistan.

She didn’t answer for a few days, and I was concerned.  Finally, this came:

“Major electricity and internet problem ! Our government is striving to provide us with many options of ‘going out’.  Now, everyone is losing their hope for a brighter day.  Those who have means to go away are leaving for countries other than Pakistan.  It surely is getting catastrophic.  It sure does give unforgiving heartache to see your country being bled to death.”

I hear smug, self-righteous voices reciting records of slaughter as if their favorite sporting team had put one in the “win” column.  I sense satisfaction when news of more dead bodies to be piled – more coffins to built and filled – surgical strikes – collateral damage, is reported – oh well…they probably deserved it any way.  This disaster needs a face, and here’s one…the face of the “enemy”…and, the words of the “enemy” –

“My hope is that one day I will be able to travel the world, to meet people and relate the story of a land beautiful and green which has been polluted by the hands of us mortals.  I believe in the coming years, the people more than the government will be responsible for the change towards nations like us, especially when they get to see the human side of things politicized.”

Maryam Shahbaz and FriendsMaryam is a writer, a poet, from a city known for its poets.  She recently earned a degree in commerce, but her leg was broken, and she had to put further studies on hold for a while.  She and her friends like to dress in ways that might dismay her elders, like so many young women do all over the world.  She thinks her words and opinions have value, like so many young women do all over the world.  She likes shoes, a passion she and my wife share,like so many young women all over the world…just one more pair of shoes.

Maryam is publishing her first book, a collection of poetry currently in the final editing process.  She hopes to come to the United States and give readings of some of her works concerning the destruction of her country and the difficulties that come with being a young woman who thinks for herself, and thinks the world can be a better place for us all to live in.

I take pride in the fact that Maryam asked me to write a dedication for her poetry collection.

My wife is proud that Maryam asked her if she would allow a few of her photographs to grace the pages of her poetry collection.

Maryam is so gracious, thanking us again and again for our contributions, and I sit here thinking that I should be thankful that she wants me to contribute what little I can to her effort to improve the lives of the people of her country, and the lives of young women the world over.

I am humbled.

I do not believe in surgical strikes.

I am not stupid.

I watch the news now and again, too often, it seems, and I hear the wail of the world being slowly turned into a charnel pit.

I am not deaf…or sightless…or voiceless…and somtimes I feel so very alone.

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your world, Maryam…I hope that during your lifetime you can write the world to a deeper understanding of just who the “enemy” is, and that those enemies of the world will not only read your words, but take them to heart.

Your burden is something most of us can’t even imagine.

Good luck to you, my friend.


31 thoughts on “The Face of a Young Woman of the World

  1. Great post. I hope she achieves her dreams, my prayers are with her.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      We are all on our way…Maryam got her poetry published, with my bit of writing, and my wife’s pictures. Amazing we can do this from opposite sides of the world despite the cultural, political, and geographic prejudices and boudaries. Thanks for you wonderful comment.

  2. melissajanda says:

    Awesome post. This is what blogging is all about. Making connections regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender and ripping those preconceived notions to shreds. Very well done.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Sure is. Part of my strange new world. I just did a short post on her since I haven’t heard from her for a while, and she’s been involved with some politics which isn’t always safe where she’s from, and most other places too, I guess. Nice to hear from you again.

  3. monosolo says:

    If I had friends like this I would throw the ones sleeping on my couch and floor out the door.

  4. I am always blessed to be in the company a wonderful genuine sister poet which Maryam is to me! Her voice is one that will surely draw attention and i pray that God will always embrace her and keep her safe. I am thankful for you also and pray the same prayer for you. Awesome post my friend…God bless!

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Thanks…writing that needs to be written, and helping out people who could use some, however effectively I can do that, seem a satisfactory way to spend my mornings, and afternoons, and evenings. Maryam a way with being special through words that connect with people she hasn’t – and may never – meet. It’s almost like becoming immortal.

  5. prayingforoneday says:

    Please accept this award.
    Well done and please, keep up the good blogging.


  6. ioniamartin says:

    I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. No responsibility to accept of course, but I do so enjoy your posts! Details on my blog shortly.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Thanks…appreciate it. I’m not really an award guy, but feel good when people like you read and like part of what I’ve written, or intended to write, enough to think that way about me.

  7. shimmyshark says:

    Reblogged this on shimmy-shark and commented:
    Maryam Shahbaz is publishing her first collection of poetry, and I’m proud to say she is using some of my photos in her work. I re-blogged this from husband’s blog – he’s writing her forward – to give anyone interested a view into the world or a remarkable young woman.

  8. dbubble12 says:

    This is a very powerful gesture, post, message and collaboration. I recently watched a movie based on the events in a book called ” The Stoning of Soraya M”. A French Iranian journalist brought this horrific practice, stoning and a particular story from a village in Iran of the lack of woman’s rights for much of anything, to light. I regret to say that I’m not sure of the extent of woman’s rights and struggles in Pakistan but I wish Maryam equality, strength, prosperity, support and continued poetic genius. Thank you so much for following my blog bubblemomentpages Scott. I have been engulfed with your great posts and look forward to learning and reading some more.

  9. Reblogged this on maryamshahbazmian and commented:
    Thank you Scott for being a wonderful person and an amazing friend.

  10. I thank you, my friend. The words are more than what I deserve.
    I hope we can together drive the malignant political tours to a tunnel down in the dark and it will give rise to a brighter world, I am sure. People need to see the reality of people not what is shown and said by the words of those invested in the profits of the misery as you rightly said. No one can justify the brutality of giving sentences of death without persecution, no matter the crimes. This authority has not been granted to any priest, Muslim or not, nay politician, Islamic cleric or not. We are all Humans first and we need to realize that.
    I really want to say thank you to all the talented people above who have proved that they are generous hearted and best of the creations.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      It is good to see people on your side, isn’t it? It will only get better. You deserve more than I have to offer.

      • Good is a word tad too short and insufficient for me Scott, at this instance. I will say again, you are just too kind and have an amazing, beautiful heart. Couldn’t have asked any more from you ! You always, always spoil me and I am afraid I am getting used to it. I have to learn though, not everyone is like you 🙂 Thank you for choosing to be a part of my life, a wonderful one 🙂

    • Umar Shams says:

      My heart goes out to the entire Pak nation, as a Kashmiri and as a human. I wish I really had the magic wand to rid this world of all its miseries and unjust actions.
      But words are all i posses, and I too will continue to express them..

      Duniya mein uss jaisa Munafiq nahi koi “Qateel”;
      Jo Zulm to sehta hai Bagaawat nahi kartaa..

      (Qateel, There is no worse hypocrite in this world,
      Than the one who tolerates injustice and doesnt rebel)

      May the humanity win all over the world 🙂

      • coyotero2112 says:

        Agreed…can’t speak for Maryam, but she would probably agree fully herself. A lovely woman who deserves better, living in an area of the world where many people deserve better. Such places aren’t hard to find, whether it’s the ghettos of America or the mountains of Central Asia. Good luck to you.

  11. jerwayne2013 says:

    Maryam is such a beautiful woman inside & outside. I hope the she can achieve her dream & make a big change in her world through her poetry. She sounds like a mighty awesome woman with the courage to make a change for all her people. Very well written read about a fantastic person.

  12. ioniamartin says:

    And what a beautiful face she has. Well said.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      I thought so. Had no idea…all I ever saw of her were her beautiful words. And when we started working on her project, and got to know her. Had to have some pictures to put the whole package together. A great smile…a sincere one…does a lot to humanize a person.

  13. Every action, no matter how big or small, that helps a friend in need is worth everything you must do. Maryam seems like an amazing person, she is gifted in ways few of us are: not just with her artistic skills, but with her courage to face a world that often is violent and horrific to those it does not like. She reminds us of what Bertolt Brecht once said: “In the dark times will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing … about the dark times.”

    Blessings to her and you, my friend. Blessings!

  14. Bizangelgirl55 says:

    It is a shame to live in this world sometimes. Sometimes I just cannot listen to the news, Everything seems to beis about all these senseless killings of innocent people. I hope the very best for your friend.

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