by Aqeela Naqvi

peace be upon the strength of women.
the warrior, with roses on her tongue.

the mountain that stood, head unbowed,
in a lonely desert wind.

peace be upon the sister who witnessed from afar as her brother was surrounded and murdered. the mother who was left to listen to the wails of her children’s final screams. the daughter whose veil was drenched in rivers of ash and blood – but whose tears continued to whisper: all praise belongs to Allah, only Allah…

to have heard what Zaynab heard, to have seen what Zaynab saw; to wear clothes stained with the blood of the ones she loved, to be amongst those considered to be defeated – and to still, still laugh in the face of tyrants, knowing they were nothing but small men attempting to claim a world that was not theirs to claim; to still speak with a voice unwavering, knowing that the sacrifice given in defense of truth made those who were killed truly victorious; in the midst of harrowing grief, to still declare: Nothing but beauty…

peace be upon the princess who was led through the alleyways in chains; the warrior who was taken prisoner but whose mind could not be imprisoned; the face of dignity who broke her shackles with the strength of her soul; the peak of patience whose voice rose to challenge tyrant’s swords.

peace be upon Zaynab – the one who, with fire in her eyes and lightning in her soul, expounded words that ripped out foundations from beneath castles of blood and steel; the beautiful storm who rose on billowing winds, sparking a revolution; the lioness who unleashed a glorious roar, rendering, for all time, the legacy of truth immortal…