I May Not Be A Labourer

By Imaan Suhail, 9A

I may not be a labourer — but if i could change society, the nation, the world, one word at a time, I would dedicate this to all the women, the female labourers, those who do the chores at home, and those who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects — those who spend long working hours, and still manage to keep a balance with their housework…

I dedicate this to my aunt, who is a single mother and has been a nurse for forty years. I dedicate this to my mother who is a wife, a mother, and teacher. I dedicate this to all the women who challenge society’s stereotypes — these women are the ones who move mountains despite being told that they were born fragile.

I may not be a labourer, but I wonder why women are defined by stereotypes that build up like bricks on concrete… Suddenly all your dreams fall down to your feet, the stiffness in your muscles as you stretch become society’s expectations, and your plans seem so out of reach.

I dedicate this to every woman who has been told she is too emotional to run for CEO, or that she is too weak to do physical labour. There are labourers who are called too sensitive, or sentimental. They say, ‘Maybe you should consider filling up cups of coffee for those who enter the office instead.’

There are labourers who are separated from the rest by the length of their skirts, or whether there is a veil around her head. It seems that these days respecting a woman comes from whether her dress reaches below her knees. Segregated by a glass ceiling that lies above, this is not just a feeling of isolation — this is the inequality that is displayed from how women’s wages are 24% less than men’s. Equality enclosed in cages — will we ever see it break free? Tell me, if equal pay is a human right, and every woman — mother, sister, daughter — remains deprived of this right, does that imply that we are not human? I may not be a labourer but I would like to mention that generations of women have fought for the same rights we are still fighting for today.

Women have the power to change a nation, but why are there so few in decision-making levels? Only 22% of parliamentarians globally are female, and 62 million girls worldwide are denied education. And why are there only five female parliamentarians out of eighty five in this country? I may not be a labourer, but there are women battling their way out of the labels they are put under.

Those who are referred to by their gender and not profession — she is every photographer known only as a female photographer; she is every salesgirl, receptionist, secretary. It is as if being a working woman often comes as such a surprise that  it places a female under a different category. I would like to question all the people who have doubted the abilities of a woman, simply because the expectations of the community have overshadowed her like a tall tree.

Do the curves on a woman’s body  really illustrate the extent of her capabilities? Women carry heaps of wet clothes, piles of files filled with documents — and in the end some don’t even read it, because ‘a woman wrote it.’ Women carry stacks of washed plates as a result of hours and hours of unpaid labour that most people forget to appreciate.

I may not be a labourer but someday, I will be. And I hope to grow up with a part of every woman who has fought for rights, against stereotypes, those women who have done it with pride. I hope to grow up with fragments of every woman who has been a president, a revolutionist, a working mother. I hope to grow up to be as independant, influential and inspiring  as my mother, Frida Kahlo, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Margaret Thatcher, Jane Goodall, and Rosie the Riveter.

Pawns of Today

By the students of Billabong High

On 26th April 2017, world-renowned Northern Irish poet Cat Brogan visited BHIS to share her experience with young literary-minded students. After an interactive workshop session of two hours, each student shared the lines they came up with to create one collaborative poem, Pawns of Today:

I’m trapped in a circle, running in 360 degrees,

Searching for solutions like the cure to some disease.

Too afraid to go off on a tangent and find a new equation,

I need to have a think and make some revision.

Too much stereotypes kill mentality,

But make a strike and bring back reality.

Give your best and kill anxiety.

Give it a try and do it honestly.

The sun disappeared as if it never existed.

But as time passed it slowly started to break through,

The sun went down, my world plunged into darkness

Because you left, the others but shined brighter:

They offered little comfort, waiting in the darkness

For you to rise again, because even though you’re a million miles away,

You light up my whole world.

Play the game of life like you’re playing basketball.

Win at life and you become a champion;

If only life was easier as it in the cartoons.

My dreams were crushed as a building would be wrecked.

My life is a blank page

That I am too afraid to fill in,

Because once the words come out,

I can’t bring them back in.

Who are you?

What makes you believe what you do?

And who are the others, to dictate what you believe in?

Who are the others, to tell you;

Who you are?

It seems as if the whole universe is living their lives

Around a battery-operated clock; confining ourselves to

The twelve digits we use in a desperate attempt to convince ourselves

That we are in order, we are normal, we live like everyone else.

But why do we glorify uniformity?

What if I don’t want to conform to meaningless digits and live my life through numbers?

People laugh at things that are funny.

Does that include beliefs?

People laugh at things that are funny.

Am I funny?

People laugh at clowns.

Am I one?

To people who create life,

I am their clown:

In the game I play, they laugh.

They say, I am like a clown that plays on the court.

My shots are considered a failed juggle.

Am I a clown? Or is life framing me to be one?

Why am I funny? I just play.

Life gave me its position to entertain.

Why don’t I just be boring? Life wouldn’t make me a clown.

It seems that the world is in a state of hypnosis,

Carving us into fragile statues.

No one bats an eyelash at the coldness,

Even if you were as appealing as a sculpted masterpiece,

Sat in a museum, worth the nation treasury.

It seems as though we need a manual for living and a manual for beauty:

It will tell you the requirements needed to be successful.

Fix your body, they will say,

You don’t look right, they will say,

And I’ll believe it.

Pretty, gorgeous,

Fabulous, amazing,

Hot, they will say,

As if I’m just some microwave that heats up take out I have on a Friday night.

Am I a microwave?

No, I am a person,

And that’s more than enough for me.

My heart took a leap

And it felt like I jumped off a cliff,

And realized I had wings.

My thoughts are pounding in my head,

Feelings rushing through my veins like blood.

Life is not worth living

If people want to change

Who I am,

Or who I want to be.

Stress is a hand choking you,

Preventing you from breathing the fresh air of freedom.

Life is like an exam

You learn new things

You’re expected to fail

But I’m going to win

And I will prove everyone wrong

By bringing back full marks.

Letter From A Tragedy

By Jumana Shahid, 11A

In the wake of the tragic suicide of one of our townsfolk, we recovered a letter from the victim. Her last words are as follows:

 

Children’s laughter was a common sound that echoed throughout the streets. At one point of my life, I thought that it such a pleasant sound to hear; I likened it to the sound of wedding bells.

Years had passed since I first moved here, since that thought first came to me. But, as the years passed by and made my body brittle, the thought morphed into something darker.

It didn’t start instantlybut, like, happiness, it slowly sneaked in, never noticed until it was too late. That feeling of joy grew bitter over time. What used to bring a smile to my face started bringing frowns and tears instead. The very thing that gave me hopethe very thing I wanted the most but never hadwas what was slowly killing me inside. I moved here with my husband, as newly-weds, ready to take on the world together. How wrong I was!

I didn’t notice it at first… but I snapped out of my trance, facing the harsh reality of my life. I could not continue to delude myself to how my husbandwho had professed his love to me with such sincerity beforechanged. I had been blind, and only now was I seeing the real him.

While I waited in the cold house and kept dinner warm for us, he would return late, smelling of alcohol and various perfumes. While I stayed alone, he sought out other company. While I turned away men offering  friendship and help, he left me behind, without a care, to his nightly rendezvouses.

Patient though I was, even I could not keep all my feelings bottled up. But showing my dissatisfaction proved to be a horrible mistake. He lost his temper.

He began with a cold calmness, dismissing my very existence, reducing mehis wife!to a slave. Then  the words grew louder, clearer, the wounds digging deeper. And it escalated to physical violence, leaving my body scarred and bruised.

More than once, I had thought of running away, but I never acted upon it. I foolishly believed this was just a phase. That he would return to being the man I fell in love with. I waited, and waited, and waitedin vain. And I realised I had to do it. I just couldn’t deal with it any more.

At long last, I ran away.

For a whole month I was happy, living without my husband. I made friends. I had an existence separate from his. Yet, all the while, I harboured fear that he would come after me. I hoped that he wouldn’t, but the fear remained. I knew, in my heart-of-hearts, that he was too stubborn to lose something he considered to be his possession.

The day it happened was terrifying. I was drifting off to the sound of pattering rain drops on the roof, lulled to the point of dreaming. Just as sleep descended, I was jerked awake by the sound of the wind, and the smashing of wood as someone ripped the door off its hinges.

What happened next is not something I can bear to recall. Suffice it to say that, by the end of it, I gave up completely… I gave up on him, I gave up on the love we once had, and most of all, I gave up on myself. On life itself.

So I end this letter, with this: all I ever wanted was a happy life as a writer and a mother, faithful to my husband, our child kind and healthy. As it turned out, my existence was a far cry from this dream of mine.

And yet, though I suffered cruelly, I hope someone finds this letter. The picture attached with this letter iswas?my Love. Please find him, and help him. Help him become a better man.


Goodbye, and thank you, stranger.

As a Girl

By Fathimath Imaan Suhail, 9A

As a girl,
You’re told to be soft,
Fragile,
Like petals on a flower.
But, like flowers,
You are destined to bloom.

As a daughter,
You are told to obey,
To keep your voice down.
But you have a voice
That brings the twinkling stars
Out to the night sky, and
You have a voice so powerful
It is capable of moving mountains.
Therefore,
My darling,
You deserve to be heard.

As a younger sister,
You are told to follow the steps
Of your brother.
But you, alone, hold a boundless universe
Filled with bliss,
And many beautiful flowers growing inside you.

As a woman,
You are told
That you are less,
That your work at home could never suffice
Or that your work in the office could never prevail,
Compared to what men do.
But you have strength in you:
All that you will ever need.
You have the potential
To shine;
Do not let your light be dimmed.

Bestowed: Definitions of a Woman

By Aishath Noorain Jiyad, 9B

she is a being of
delicacy, felicity, and
charm.
she reigns her own throne
in her own kingdom.
evidence of womanhood
is displayed atop her waist,
like jewelry,
around her thighs.
but be not at fault
by her honeyed smile
or her fragile body,
as from her lips run
love and excruciating pain,
wisdom, and iniquity.
of men she is most famous,
of women she is most praised.
but twisted,
this peculiar scarcity—
so beautiful and beyond,
is also
every women
who’ve bled and broke,
loved and lost—
concept: so women
you are art, you are life,
for your exquisite empowerment
ceases to fall.
oh darlings,
chin up and
stride tall.

Through the Glass

By Aishath Ahna Ali, 11A

Who are you? Identify yourself.
Who are you? Just a simple answer.
Simple? Think some more.
Who are you? Identify yourself.
Stop looking at the glass.
See who you are, not who is shown.
Man once said, ‘You’re not who you are,
But who is in front of you.’
Who are you? Speak what you desire.
You are held back by looks
Whose looks?
See through the glass; you shall see.
Do you see? Who are they?
Who are you? You say your name.
Asked again: who are you?
Silence follows.
Questions come. Yet again, silence.
Look at the glass; who do you see?
You see the face of another.
Simple question. No answer.
Identify yourself. Who are you?
Are you who you claim to be?
See through the glass,
And you shall see
Your face, body, clothes, voice.
Through the glass
They see you, and you see them.
Once more identify yourself.
Who are you?

Dictator Facts You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

By Humam Ahmed Mujah, 11A

  1. In 2012, a 14-year-old North Korean girl, Han Hyon Gyong, drowned while trying to save portraits of dictators Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Thus, the government named her school after her.
  2. Joseph Stalin’s son shot himself because of Stalin’s harshness towards him, but he survived. Then Stalin said, ‘He can’t even shoot straight.’
  3. Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceasescu banned Scrabble in Romania in the 1980s, describing the board game as ‘Too intellectual.’
  4. Benito Mussolini offered almost $2000 to every couple who named their child Benito.
  5. Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, has an official title of ‘His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.’ He never received a Distinguished Service Order (DSO), nor the Military Cross (MC), nor a Doctorate, nor even the Victoria Cross (VC).
  6. Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, Kim Il Nam, was the heir to the title of Supreme Leader of North Korea, until he attempted to enter Japan with a fake passport so that he could go to Disneyland.