Life Is Like Moon

For Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran

Life is Jina
Jina is Mahsa —

the full circle of light
witness to struggle

Say her name—

The Earth has done one more tawaf around the sun

The protestors persist—
journalists, artists, family members—
despite batons, tear gas, live ammunition
detention, solitary confinement—
broken ribs, skulls, fingers, arms, legs—
despite beatings, floggings, rapes—

Say their name—

In this jihad against injustice
the bystander is a collaborator of fear

Amidst brutality
women refuse to censor their hair
and their demand for choice

Woman is life
Life is a moon—
that defies nightmares

Torture tears me limb from limb
breaks me to less than me
Words fall apart
but I am beyond words—
I am the script of life

Say my name—

Freedom is the dream of the living
We are still alive

Say our name—
children, women, men
the fallen martyrs
the mourners, witnesses, sufferers
and those who are still standing

*Mahsa Amini: a young Kurdish woman, was murdered on September 16, 2022, in custody of morality police in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This incident was the start of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement.

*Jina: Mahsa Amini’s Kurdish given name, meaning life

*Mahsa: like moon

.*Both in Persian and Kurdish, the word for “woman” is the root of the word for “life.”

About the Poem

This poem commemorates the first anniversary of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement on September 16th.

About the Author

Banoo-Zan by Alex Usquiano

Bänoo Zan is a poet, translator, essayist, and poetry curator, with more than 280 published pieces and three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Canada’s most diverse and brave poetry open mic (inception 2012). It is a brave space that bridges the gap between communities of poets from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, poetic styles, voices, and visions. Bänoo, along with Cy Strom, is the co-editor of the poetry anthology: “Woman, Life, Freedom: Poems for the Iranian Revolution.” 

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