Speak, Your Lips Are Free

(MENAFN- Tribal News Network) August 13, 2022Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Linkedin Email

File Photo.

Sundus behroz

A few days ago I met a journalist, documentary filmmaker and blogger Sabeen Agha. The story of meeting her is very interesting. Let me narrate the story to you too.

I met Sabeen as a teacher. Now, along with hearing the name of teacher, the image of an old woman with a big bag on her shoulder and holding a pile of books in her arm comes in one's mind.

Bored of reading this? No! No… I will not let you get bore anymore. Just fueling a little curiosity.

TNN's Blogging Workshop

So readers, the story is, Tribal News Network held a training workshop for beginner girls in Peshawar on the topic of blogging, in which apparently all were young girls.

The great masterpiece that we were anxiously waiting for hours finally arrived. She didn't have thick glasses on her nose, neither was she holding a pile of books in her arm, nor was she an elderly person, she was just a girl like us. It seemed like seeing a friend after a long time who do not give you goosebumps but brings a happy smile on your face.

I was a bit nervous as I didn't know much about blogging. Due to the new place, new people and ignorance of the subject, I kept a little quiet.

But how about our friendly teacher Sabeen Agha, who opened the lock of our silence with the key of sound and then did not allow anyone to remain silent at all.

Words, questions and our stories

She wanted to hear our stories. She wanted to give voice to those words which we were tired of choking but those words were still alive inside us.

Now we are worried whether we have a story.

Are we the heroine of our own story? Sabeen said, yes! We are the heroin of our story.

This opened a new chapter of thought. There was chaos inside our mind, no one had ever asked us our story. We used to think that stories are only about big and famous people.

What kind of teacher is this, who created a great mess in the mind that you are important and it is necessary to hear your story. Events and words started coming out from different corners of the mind as if they were struggling, but maybe today they were taking their revenge or maybe we had suppressed them in the dark corners of our mind from where they were unable to meet now.

Don't ask questions

She waited for my story and I tried to hide my inner situation. Now what would I tell her that whatever you are asking has never been asked by anyone or should I tell her that mothers themselves start teaching girls to strangle their words from the time they are in the womb.

If elders were sitting and talking in a get-together and I would express my opinion, my mother would immediately point out that it is not allowed to speak among adults.

Whatever the elders say are always right, so I always wished to grow up so I will be heard and understood.

When I used to ask questions in the seminary, teacher used to scold me and hush me by saying that I should not ask questions. My voice would go to the cave and I would sit down in fear. It came to be known much later that teacher would not let me speak in order to avoid the questions which she didn't know how to answer. I was punished to dim my voice due to her lack of knowledge . Thus, my questions kept dying by their death every day.

Maybe saying“I don't know” or confessing it was a big trouble.

Good girls don't talk

In the evenings, when we would sit with Grandma to listen to stories, she would tell us the stories of those“good” girls who keep quiet, keep their heads down, and don't laugh loudly or raise their voices in anger. I also decided that I too had to be a“good girl” so that Grandma would tell my story everyone. Some other questions became dear to Allah in these consequences.

In school, if I would ask something from teacher, she would hush me by saying that good children don't criticize. The temptation to be a“good girl” would push the words back into the dark corners of the mind.

The story of Sundus in her own words.

To girls who have been murdering their thoughts for years, Sabeen Agha said to them,“Speak, for your lips are free”

She wanted to dig these graves of words and questions, remove the dust from them and breathe life into them again, which were buried alive by the outdated thinking of closed minds.

Time was needed to sift through the buried treasure, which I found in abundance. It was difficult to get together the scattered words, but as soon as they knew that someone was waiting to listen, they began to refresh. Every word was trying to get ahead of each other as they were also suffocating in those dark corners.

This is how I finally told my story to Sabeen Agha and my colleagues in training.

I vowed to myself that I will never let my words become a veil of silence. Because like Sabeen Agha, now I also think that my lips are free.

Are your lips free too?

——————————————————————————————— Sundus Behrooz teaches and also writes blogs and short stories on various social and gender issues.

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