To the Taliban

The views expressed in blogposts are the author(s)’s own and do not necessarily reflect WOC in ELT’s stance.

If the Middle East had an entrance, there should be engraved upon it this sentence from Dante’s Inferno Canto III “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. Everywhere you look at, you see violence and war, you see honour killing, sex segregation, women immobilisation, child marriage, social injustice against women; and since the re-rise of Taliban all that matters for humanity has vanished in a blink of an eye! And the worst part? The international community has remained silent! Because apparently “Lithium” is far more valuable than people’s lives. I’ve seen horrendous scenes here and there from people who are running away, who are protesting for their rights and got shot as if they have never been in this world.

I’ve seen my courageous Afghan sisters who were shouting in the streets near the UN office “Down with Taliban”, “Until blood is in our veins (until we are alive), Massoud is our leader” and I cried with both sadness and joy; with joy because I was seeing courage beyond expectation and sadness because no woman is safe in the Middle East.

And with a heart laden with sorrow, I compose these lines and I dedicate this poem to all the Afghan and the Iranian women.

To the Taliban

My face, forbidden
A clock without hands since you don’t like me age
My body, a vessel
Or more like a public lavatory for you when it comes to Jihad
Even if I’m dead, you’re still allowed to take delight in it.
My voice, needless
For you don’t like to feel your house of cards trembling.
My mind, there lies the problem
You can’t stand me as a Huwo* ;
Yet I WAS, I AM, I AM, I AM, and I will BE…

Behnaz Amani

*Human – woman. Since both of these terms have ‘man’ as their essential components, I thought omitting that and converging the two remaining parts would give us a sense of emphasis on femininity.

Behnaz Amani

A Ph.D. holder in English literature, who had studied interior architecture and design as well. A fine art photography model, poet, and writer who believes in kindness and understanding. Tries her best to be supportive of those in need and hates lies and infidelity.

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Recordings of AIELOC & WOC in ELT Conference (2021)

You can find the recordings of AIELOC & WOC in ELT Conference (2021) at the following links:

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Recordings of AIELOC & WOC in ELT Conference (2020)

You can find the recordings of AIELOC & WOC in ELT Conference (2020) at the following links:

Main link:

Pre-recorded sessions:

Day 1 recording:

Day 2 recording:

I Hope Not!

“So, my answer to the question Can an African ever learn English well enough to be able to use it effectively in creative writing? is certainly yes. If on the other hand you ask: Can he ever learn to use it like a native speaker? I should say, I hope not. It is neither necessary nor desirable for him to be able to do so… The African writer should aim to use English in a way that brings out his message best without altering the language to the extent that its value as a medium of international exchange will be lost. He should aim at fashioning an English which is at once universal & able to carry his peculiar experience… I feel that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experience. But it will have to be a new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home, but altered to suit its new African surroundings.”

Chinua Achebe (“English and the African Writer”, 1965)

h/t Dr. Amir Ali Nojoumian, Iranian scholar of English Literature & Critical Theory

AIELOC & WOC in ELT Free Online Conference

The AIELOC and Women of Color in ELT Conference aims to provide high quality professional development for international educators and leaders focused on representation, social justice, and equity studies.

14 -15 November 2020

Free Online Conference

The Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) is devoted to amplifying the work of international educators and leaders of color with a focus on advocacy, learning, and research.

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