Thursday 22 March 2018


They disappear the girls,
But it's the men who blur, for me.

Whose father, did what, when,
With whose aid, why - I care less

About them. And only about you.
You remain. You and your name

Haunt me, but not as ghostly mystery.
There was nothing insubstantial

About you. In fact, there was so much
That it has spilled over, across time,

Crossed the bridges of your world
And mine, so you live with me now,

Swimming in the river of my thoughts.
I hope you don't mind.

(c) Shaista Tayabali, 2018

They wanted us to forget her. They tried to erase her, in a suitcase, strangled and abandoned, buried. No, evil, you did not succeed. We honour her, still. Her name is on our lips, in our poems, crossing borders on the wind. Banaz Mahmod. In 2012, Deeyah Khan and Andrew Smith documented her story in a film they titled Banaz: A Love Story. She was born 16 December 1985, and killed 24 January, 2006. She was Iraqi Kurdish. She lived in Wimbledon, London. And she fought to save her own life.  
(poem shared via dverse poets)


brudberg said...

I had not heard this story, but we had an almost identical case with Fadime Sahindal here in Sweden who was killed by her own father... not to forget is the most important.

Beachanny said...

Wow! Powerful. Love the way you wrote this..the poem folds around us and pulls us to center. At the end we care. We care a lot! Beautifully written!

Amaya said...

Yes, let us remember the names and lives of the ones killed. The ones doing the killing can just blur away.

Marina Sofia said...

Oh, that is so sad- a lovely poem to commemorate her and others in her position!

Shaista said...

Yes there are many such stories, and as you say, not to forget is most important. But we can only do so when we know the story, when we know her name.

Shaista said...

Thank you so much - I love that Banaz fought for herself. She went to the police five times before her death. She really asked for help, and wasn’t given it.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

An evocative piece--and it makes me sad and angry--when will the violence stop?

hyperCRYPTICal said...

I remember this Shaista, where love of ones child is worth less than that of 'family honour.'
What honour was gained in the dirt of her torture and murder I will never understand.
Thank you for keeping the memory of Banaz alive - it is something we should never forget.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh Shaista, and she was such a beautiful young life! Thanks for honouring her and keeping her memory alive. There are way too many stories in every country like this. It is very saddening. I am glad she fought to try to save her life. What a horrible ending to a beautiful life.

Roslyn Ross said...

This is a worthwhile lament and honouring.

ZQ said...


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