One Million signs of pain

For International Women’s Day


One Million signs of pain
by Azadeh Azad

On the splendid plateau of my land
For the last thirty years of choked breath
Cloaked bearded men of Islamic brand
Time-traveller tyrants from old Arabia
Have planted phallic bars of Sharia Law
And celebrated dark demons of deceit
With dictators of worst kind in command.
Blades of injustice have ripped through
Women’s mind leaving one million signs of
Pain behind one million wounds to mend
Under bruised skies of a bloodthirsty trend.
But in this darkest field of steel weeds
And strangler vines there are gentle breeds
Of swaying blossoms splashing stars that turn
The darkness into light stillness into dancing
With glancing floods of love on the lights
Of Cyrus Cylinder first charter of human rights
Dreaming not of a Saviour not of a Clown
Who is like no one but of themselves alone
The way they ought to be when they’re awake.
They go on the road door to door quarter
To quarter city to village voicing words
Passing pamphlets enacting ordeals collecting
Signatures in support of changes to tribal laws
Against women in defiance of sordid men
With thickened crevices in their brains.
They go through revolving doors
Of Evin jail, of the Dark Ages minds
In the language of quiet change convicted
Of pregnancy with the concept of
Women’s parity in all realms of life.
They emerge from that hell with celebrations
Gather in each other’s houses refresh their vows
And keep at it hard and heavy till Enlightenment
Comes in to win their rights in the Year of One.
For now one million signs of pain blaze and burn
Into their One Million Signatures Campaign
As the curves of their minds become new paths
To the garden of fair play and their persistence
Opens the floodgates to their righteous way.

May one day victory of daughters
Of Anahita be rejoiced by everyone
Throwing flowers into the Goddess’s
Flowing waters in not so far future.
©2009, Azadeh Azad
This poem is dedicated to the following Iranian feminists and members of the grass-root "One Million Signatures Campaign to Change Discriminatory Laws Against Women," who have been attacked, arrested, found guilty of acting against national security, imprisoned in solitary confinement and / or forbidden to leave the country.
Alieh Eqdamdoust, Assieh Amini, Azadeh Forqani, Bahareh Hedayat, Behnaz Shekar-yar, Delaram Ali, Ehteram Shadfar, Elnaz Ansari, Fariba Davoudi- Mohajer, Farideh Entessari, Fatemeh Dehdashti, Fatemeh Goftari, Fatemeh Govaraii, Hanna Abdi, Jelveh Javaheri, Jila Bani-yaqub, Khadijeh Moqaddam, Mahboubeh Abbass-qolizadeh, Mahboubeh Hossein-zadeh, Mahboubeh Karami, Mahnaz Mohammadi, Mansoureh Shojaii, Maryam Hossein-khah, Maryam Mirza, Maryam Zandi, Maryam Zia, Masoumeh Zia, Marzieh Mortazi-Langaroudi, Minou Mortazi, Nafisseh Azad, Nahid Entessari, Nahid Jafari, Nahid Keshavarz, Nahid Mirhaj, Najmeh Zare’, Nasrin Afzali, Nasrin Setoudeh, Nassim Sarabandi, Nassrin Forouhmand, Nassim Khosravi, Nassim Soltan-Beygi, Nazli Farrokhi, Niloufar Golkar, Noushin Ahmadi Khorassani, Parastou Allah-yari, Parastou Dokouhaki, Parastou Sarmadi, Parvin Ardalan, Raheleh Asgari-zadeh, Rezvan Moqaddam, Ronak Saffar-zadeh, Saeededh Amin, Saqar Laqaii, Sara Imanian, Sara Laqaii, Sara Loqmanian, Shadi Sadr, Shahla Entessari, Shahrzad AleDavood, Shirin Ebadi, Somayyeh Farid, Sussan Tahmassebi, Tal’at Taqi-nia, Zahra Amjadi, Zara Amjadian, Zeinab Peyqambar-zadeh.


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by Anonymouswoman (not verified) on

An elegent way to thank our feminist sisters. Bravo!


Beautifully done

by IRANdokht on

Thank you Azadeh jan.



Appropriate and Artful!

by Monda on

Thank you again Azadeh.


Thank you Azadeh

by ramintork on

Women's rights in Iran is for everyone's sake.

There cannot be a fair civilized society when half the population has become second class citizens.



Beautiful! thank you.

by teapot (not verified) on

Beautiful! thank you.