By Amir Bagheri
A letter to my mom
About a month ago, I was given the task to write an editor’s note about “women”.
I have been thinking about it for weeks now. You have been at the centre of my thoughts because almost everything I know about women has been passed down to me through you.
Initially, I thought that this editor’s note would be an easy task; a piece of cake so to speak. I thought I can impress our readers with my “wokeness”. But as usual, I was wrong.
I have written and rewritten this piece a dozen times. In every single one of them, I was reminded of how annoying and self-righteous I come across. I can’t help but be amused as to how sometimes you think of me the same way. I guess, no matter how hard I try, I will always have a little bit of my father in me.
To this day, I am not sure if I am the kind of son or a man, that you can be proud of. As a little boy, I was always jealous of other children who had more passionate, expressive, and loving mothers. I never understood your stoic approach to motherhood.
Of course, after all these years I understand you better; or at least I hope. From time to time, when I struggle with insomnia, I think of you and all the struggles that you have had to deal with. Being a wife to an abusive husband, being a good mother, and a teacher.
Your words still go in circles in my ears “I will not be willing to bless your marriage if you are anything like other men. I will not be willing to be cursed by your future wife for raising a son that ended up being like every other man.”
I think we can both agree that Persian is the most poetic language that has ever existed. It is the language that you patiently taught me to speak. But here is what irks me, Maamaan. I haven’t used all the beautiful words, that you have taught me, to celebrate you; at least not enough. And I am solely to blame for this.
Perhaps it is all these bottled emotions and words over all these years that is now limiting me to write about women. Or perhaps it is still my sheer ignorance towards what it means to be a woman, and what it takes to survive as a woman. It might even be more disappointing for you to know that I was told to write this letter to you, by another woman (who I cherish), in order to understand my inability to express my thoughts on this topic.
I don’t know Maamaan, but perhaps this editor’s note was not supposed to be written by me. It is not my place so to speak. I am hundred percent certain that there are at least three billion women out there that would do a better job than I would.
I am thankful to you because you have made me become aware of my masculinity and how toxic it can be. You have never allowed me to get away with ignorance, as you have always encouraged me to learn more and think more. You encouraged discussions and debates around the dining table, during breakfast and dinner.
You are a revolutionary at heart, and I might be the product of your revolution. I have one simple task, and that is to put an end to the cycle of violence and toxic masculinity in our household.
For your sake, I will be the man you wish my father was to you.
In this month’s issue, we wanted to celebrate women and all they have achieved throughout history. We wanted amazing women to take over our magazine and make use of our space to tell us and you, our dear readers, their stories, their art, and their hopes.
I truly hope that you will enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
In this issue:
Persian Poetry: I know a woman – Mehdi Bagheri
Meditations: Principled – Lucinda de Leeuw
3 Artists That Are Gonna Change Your Life – Taahir Kamal Chagan
The Birth of Fire – Nkateko Masinga
A Tribe of Women – Olufemi Agunbiade
Odd Interview: Pussy on a Plinth – Shameelah Khan
Feminism in the age of hashtags and transculturation – Nicola Pilkington
darling i daresay – Juwayriya Bemath
Brown Wonder, Will You Look At Me? – Nkateko Masinga
Rebuilding walls – Hope Netshivhambe
Excuses – Tanatsei Gambura
Looking for God – Tanatsei Gambura
JOU HOND!!! – Indigene “Gene” Harris
Shhh… – Indigene “Gene” Harris
in the small town where i come from – Raphael d’Abdon
Interview – Anisa Umar