Akhir kitney aur Hashtag hon gay?

by Tirzah Shams – Age 15 years


An ode to those all those women
For whom, every day is a battle
When it comes to strength and dignity
You are a prime example

Don’t let the words of these people
Tear your beautiful sprit apart
Keep fighting, my love, it will get better
Time will heal your bleeding heart

Noor. Qurat-ul-Ain. Andaleeb. Saima. Wishah. Silsila. Just a few of the many names that represent how society treats women. Countless others made their appearances on my Instagram feed in the past few days and even more are there that I am yet to see. Names of women. They appeared with the phrase “justice for”, one that I’m more accustomed to seeing now than I’d like to admit. So many names, so many hashtags. In this month alone, at least one new hashtag was found every day. Sometimes twice appearing on the same.

So what are they about? These tags are prominently appearing in cases of violent acts being committed against women. The sheer amount of names, the lists that now appear on a simple search of the words “justice for”, are heartbreaking. If I were in a less harsh world, I’d hope that these hashtags would capture the full extent of violence against women. That it would end with the number of tags appearing, which in itself is a lot. But the reality of the situation is that, this spike in trending hashtags (relating to violence against women) captures just the tip of the iceberg. These only show a small proportion of reported cases (only those that have gone viral). It’s hard to even imagine the true magnitude of the number of such acts. To take into consideration the many more reported injustices and the crimes left unreported.

My heart bleeds for these victims. Them and all those unknown names that have faced terrible agony and still are. My sisters who have suffered at the hands of oppressors. Our patriarchal society arms these monsters, there is no denying. It’s in looking no further than what happened to Noor Mukadam. This young woman was killed brutally by her childhood friend. Yet, rather than punishing her murderer, fingers were raised on her character. ‘Why did she agree to meet with him alone?’ And when the same accusing tone was used against Zahir Jaffar, his actions were excused by our society under claims of mental illness. The mentality of our people and society as a whole would rather excuse a man who beheaded someone than a girl who was killed for she already knew her killer.

In the last few days, I’ve experienced a sort of mental exhaustion that I’m sure many of my fellow age mates and fellow women would relate to. We are scared. We are tired of existing in a world where our existence has been made a privilege to us. Where reading news concerning rape, harassment, killings and much more, have become a sort of a daily routine. Most of us already grow up feeling untrusting towards the men around us. And these events that have occurred at a horrifyingly continuous rate have definitely made it worse. We are angry, bottling up so many emotions.

As a teenage girl, I should not be writing about a femicide. I, my friends and all my fellow females are far too young to be carrying such heavy burdens. I guess it isn’t unlike our society though. We were already made to mature quicker when told at young ages about the dirty looks men have, even for our young bodies. We were made to grow up faster as we found ourselves deleting message requests from overage men while we are still minors. We are forced to grow up in many ways that our male counterparts didn’t and were told that it’s just “the norm”. And it’s disturbing how, even when aware of these situations, the reaction of the men around us has been simply unhelpful.

As I was writing this essay, I found myself on Twitter. Ready to find more information about the many tags I had seen. Instead, what trended were these words:


These words are those most commonly used when women speak out about how they have been treated by men. A hoax of innocence that men tend to mix with their “nice guy” personas. And I get it. Not all men are bad men. I understand as much. I know that my father isn’t a bad man. I know he loves me infinitely and is respectful to all the women around him. Similarly, my brother isn’t a bad man. I see him get frustrated as he reads posts about all which has happened over the past month. I see him worry for my safety. I see him try to understand what women go through and I see him trying to unlearn any internalised misogyny. So yes, I know that not all men are bad.

But understanding is needed over this simple fact; enough men are bad that women have to assume all of them are. Being vary of all men is a simple safety measure that we have to adopt. Similar to how not all mosquitoes carry malaria but its unpredictable which ones do, so we protect ourselves against all of them. I know that my father and brother aren’t bad men but a random girl on a sidewalk would not know so. It’s in her best interest to avoid them, just in case they are. And this doesn’t just apply to strangers. Women in our society are killed for rejecting proposals, asking for their right in inheritance, acting in any way that their male family members deem inappropriate, etc. Sources of harassment end up being family members and friends too. Thus women are left existing at the mercy of men. We become one misstep away from disaster. And in all of this, being vary of men or speaking low of most of them only leads to men claiming innocence rather than trying to support and help their female associates. Instead of helping educate their “bros” and calling their associates out on inappropriate behaviours, instead men succumb to talking about how feminists just hate all men.

It’s a hard time to be a woman in our world. Take these events, these difficult situations, as eye openers. Crimes against women are escalating and as more and more examples come to light, I appeal to anyone reading this to raise their voices. Please, raise your voices against the injustices that occur. Raise your voices so that the people in power can no longer play dumb. Raise them till each and every woman gets the justice they deserve. Raise your voices until the world that you live in is safe for you, your sister, mother and all acquaintances, alike. And in times when you feel your voice falter, ask yourself:

“Akhir Kitney Aur Hashtag Hon Gay?”

That Night In December

(Inspired by Heather by Conan Gray)
by Tirzah Shams

I’ll always remember
That night in December
Your touch, so tender
Sitting next to the ember

The fire was dying
Your fluent lying
Now my heart’s crying
But there’s no denying

That I loved you
I just wish that you knew
I never lied to you
Like you would do

You gave me your sweater
Showed a future together
But she was always better
I wouldn’t matter

Your eyes would follow
Wherever she’d go
I would never show
But I’d always know

That she means more
Still you always swore
I was the one you adore
The one you care for

But you lied
You lied
Over and over again

Pandora Box

by Tirzah Shams

Rain fell, love relentless
Hands held, life ain’t endless
Be prepared for when you learn to fly

Tell me, I’m not worthy
Don’t pretend, I know you heard me
Crying, you just don’t wanna try

To save me, and make me a dream
You gave me a chance to come clean
But I failed

I try but I can’t do it
I’d fail, you always knew it
Won’t fake a smile when I wanna cry

COVID-19 Hopes

by Tirzah Shams

Empty streets with broken lives
Abandoned cars that no one drives
Hoping this never occurs again
That nothing will ever be the same

Solitude will be the norm
Far-fetched, but soon will all conform
Beaches a dream, no bathing in the rain
Nothing again will ever be the same

The world might stop but time ‘ll go on
It’ll all be the same, the dusk and the dawn
Happiness might seem to be in vain
So bad, is it for things to be the same?

Mother Earth will slowly heal herself
You’ll learn, you need none but yourself
The loss indeed is nothing against the gain
So yes, nothing again will ever be the same

In fleeting time, there’ll be massive change
And true right now, might seem so strange
But in the end fate will explain
Why it’s so important nothing stays the same

We were draining our planet just months ago
It wasn’t a hoax, as statistics will show
We’ll survive this pandemic if we just abstain
Though nothing will be the same again

The virus will pass, though some will be lost
But we have to pay this horrendous cost
So that our planet survives and be ours again
Then things will be better though never the same

There is no planet B

by Tirzah Shams

There is no planet B: How will climate change affect you and your community?

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”- Greta Thunberg

With her environmental activism this 17 year old Swedish student shook the world with her impassioned speech about Climate Change that has become one of the world’s most pressing issues.

What is climate change? When the average climate of a place changes with new weather patterns, usually through the effect of greenhouse gases, it is known as climate change. Today, because of the excessive release of carbon dioxide in the air, the earth is warming up at incredible rates and the melting of icecaps, surge of heat waves and other climatic disasters have become normal. New climatic disasters have spread fear among people. A great example of this would be the fire tornadoes observed during the worst ever wild bush fires of Australia and turbulent wind conditions. Millions of people are already suffering from the disastrous effects of climate change, from the droughts in Africa to tropical storms in Southeast Asia. Not to forget the extreme heat waves in countries such as Pakistan.

It is a fact that we don’t have a planet B and that this earth is the only one we have. Though efforts have been made to find another planet with a similar climate as our earth, or to colonize other planets like Mars, this is still a far-fetched dream. The earth is deteriorating fast and we need to save it since we have no other options.

Now moving to the topic at hand. How will climate change affect me and my generation and the generations to come? I am an early teenager, yet to explore the world and just beginning to start my journey in this amazing game of life. But life’s opportunities are being taken away from me, from us, from children. We are being stripped of our future and the government is ignoring our cries. Today, it’s the kids, the “careless” teenagers that are fighting for the future of this planet while “responsible” adults turn a blind eye and ignore the issue, putting it on the back-burner. That young activist Greta Thunberg made her transatlantic carbon-free voyage on a yacht just to raise awareness in the media and government sectors through more than 60 world leaders who attended the UN Climate Summit in New York. It shouldn’t be so that youngsters have to leave their education to fight for their future. You say we kids don’t know what we are talking about; that we don’t understand the issues of this world. Then, may I ask you to make us understand. Explain what could possibly be more important than saving our planet from this impending destruction? But you don’t care. You adults will not be here when the air is too toxic to breathe or when we run out of drinking water. You won’t be here to witness the destruction that you and the generations before you have brought to this planet. I won’t have a future because of the destruction which you my fathers and forefathers have caused.

Now how will climate change affect my generation? I am from the sub-tropical country of Pakistan and our economy is dependent on our agricultural sector. To look at it this way, with an increase in temperature, change in precipitation pattern and more extreme weather conditions the production of agriculture will decrease. The loss of GDP will in turn increase the debts we owe to other countries and will be a source of escalating problems. Melting of glaciers in the Himalayas will be a cause of land sliding and multiple disasters in the foothills. This will also increase the volume of the rivers in Pakistan, threatening flooding and increase in the flow rate. Pakistan is not the primary or a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet, we have to bear the brunt of the crisis. The fear of extreme weather, droughts, erratic monsoon rains that will cause flash floods, increased health risks and climate induced migration, increase in saline water in the Indus delta, etc. are also major issues. The elevated sea level will threaten the coastal areas.

Climate change is a big issue, affecting each one of us in a personal, national and international way. Our dear planet, the epitome of life is sinking under water and we are doing nothing about it. There are actions and measures that we can undertake to help save our planet, such as walking instead of driving, reducing and reusing things as much as possible, washing your clothes in cold water as well as hanging them out to dry, unplugging electronic gadgets when they’re not in use, eating less meat and dairy, finding alternatives to indoor heating and air conditioning, etc.

“Carbon is rising,
Our planet is dying,
We need to save it,
We aren’t even trying,
Oh dear adults,
Just quit lying,
The earth is slowly burning up”

An ode to all those women

Women Empowerment

by Tirzah Shams

Behind every successful man
Is a woman, they say
But don’t forget this fact
A woman also carves her own way

She isn’t just someone else’s support
But the epitome of her own success
She is her own person
She isn’t just a pretty face and dress

Her destiny is more than motherhood
Don’t define her life with a single act
She will change the world herself
She will make her own impact

She grows in a society of hate
Where she is stripped of basic rights
But even then, she always flourishes
She is prepared to win her fights

The cruel world around her
Never stops criticizing every move
No matter what she ever does
They always disapprove

“Don’t speak too much
But have a voice,
Don’t live for yourself
Act like you have a choice

Don’t cover up to much,
You’re too boring
Wear more clothes,
No skin should be showing

Wear some makeup,
Look like it’s actual
Ew, your so fake
Look more natural

Your hair is curly?
Heat it straight
Don’t ruin your hair
Don’t make it fake”

And when she asks them
“So what can I do?”
They answer with fake love
“Just be you”

An ode to all those women
For whom, everyday is a battle
When it comes to strength and dignity
You are a prime example

Don’t let the words of these people
Tear your beautiful spirit apart
Keep fighting, my love, it will get better
Time will heal your bleeding heart

Ultimate love

Sun – Earth and Moon ~ metaphors the ultimate love

Poetry by Tirzah Shams

The whole system worshiped her beauty
She was the goddess of the sky
Her greens and blues entranced all
With chocolate eyes and smiles, sly

Those from far away and close
Referred to her as earth
And Mars and Venus by her side
Only just increased her worth

Earth had captured one in particular
Whom circled her day and night
Moon saw the beauty inside of her
And he was attracted to her light

For the universe was filled with millions of beauties
With some big and some small
With diamond rains on some of them
And some experiencing none at all

And some even tried to copy Earth
But they could never reach her level
For this young maiden was an epitome of life
She was truly something special

But even earth had her flaws
And one of them was falling for him
Sun, the player and the mischief
Who made her life so grim

She chased him around years on end
She loved only this lucky star
And before she knew, she was in a circle
She was gone too far

And one day the sun exploded
In a cloud of fiery dust
And took the lives of those near him
And thus repaid their trust

And two of the casualties were the beauty
And her young enthusiast
Earth and Moon could have lived
If they didn’t love, they would last

Picture taken from: https://www.comehometonature.com/body-rhythm-planetary-rhythm/

Dancing Words

by Tirzah Shams

I pick up a pen and a pencil
Pour out words on a page
My words dance to the rhyme
They stand proud on their stage

I peek from behind the curtain
Watch them happy with their art
I view them come together
I see them fall apart

They are slightly off the beat
But none the less happy and proud
I see a few shy away
And some are screaming loud

I see how some hold hands
And some stay miles away
I hear some yelling words
I hear some silently say

But each one knew their own power
How they make sense to me
So what if the world doesn’t know
How each one makes me free

For all the mothers of this family

by Tirzah Shams

I am lonely in the dark
Your the one who lights my sky
I am on a drowning ark
Your the one who’d rather die
I have never seen a love
That has shone so bright
On the darkest of days
You become the only true light

No one can replace you
Your love no one possess
My heart has a lock on it
And only your granted access

God made you from true love
He made you to protect me
It’s you who will be there
When the whole world rejects me

You taught me that life
Is made of salt and sugar alike
And that not everything is perfect
But that is alright

You taught me to make mistakes
And learn from them what is wrong
You told me my differences
Are the reasons I belong
You showed me the path
That lead me to successful living
When I couldn’t change now
You gave me a chance to new beginning
Thank you mom for all your love
For I am nothing without you
Happy Mothers day
The world is empty without you

Struggle of women – Women’s Day

They were prepared to lay their lives
To leave a better future for me
But you told the world that this was just a hoax
You made them no longer free

They kept on fighting until you took away
Their arms and legs that fought
That’s when they really started to speak
Something you easily forget

So you trapped them in a cage of their own words
And erased what was left of their fight
You thought you subdued the spark that they had
The one you just helped ignite

You might have thought you took away
Each weapon that they owned
And for this reason the war had stopped
But No! No, no. It was simply postponed

This war begun with Adam and Eve
And won’t stop, till the end of time
Today is for every woman who fought
Against this deadly crime