We all wear the veil
I am not Muslim, yet I, too, am condemned to wear the veil.
“Enlightened” Western woman; even so, I wear the veil.
A true New England Puritan, staid, traditionalist behind the veil.
Every day, in every way that tells a man
I have been raised to please, I wear the veil.
A child still, I learned the sacred rules by rote:
Be virginal, submissive, obedient and wear the veil.
Each word and gesture is meant to prove I wear the veil.
I am loved and held in esteem if my man prospers and is
Self-confident; as his shadow or lovely extension I wear the veil.
I am to be intelligent, beautiful, politically correct, even militant,
If it proves my man’s good judgment, for I wear the veil.
Custom dictates a life circumscribed by shorthand clichés.
Brainwashed walls hide us, keeping us behind opaque veils.
We accept what we think we cannot change
From behind the veil. The truth is harsh and heavy:
When will we learn to free our minds and emotions
From round turns and half hitches – knots that bind us –
And come out from behind our guilty prison veils?
When will we stop allowing ourselves to be sacrificed
For conventions made by man, for man, and only man?
We are raped and it's our fault, we deserved it for flaunting
The very flesh the male fashion paragons exhibit on runways.
We are stoned for crimes that man feels justified in doing daily
Because it proclaims his masculinity and his ability to dominate.
It flatters him to think he is in his prime still and can take
Whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, without reprisal.
Tear them away! Throw them away! These veils are blinders
Meant to keep all women captive behind deceptive syllogisms
Ancient as the world and all its polarized power struggles.
Let fall the veil; step out from behind the veil – GO! LIVE!
Be proud of your femininity, your intelligence and your intuition!
They are just what man lacks and therefore covets, be proud!
Your worth is in who and what you are, not in veils worn
Or insults threatened by a booming voice that frightens.
BE proud; STAND tall; ACCEPT yourself and who you are!
Religions should not accept to be accomplices to such injustice.
When all veils fall, ours and theirs, truth will have a chance.
© Nyuka Anaïs Laurent 30.01.04