‘Familial Promises – The ‘Honour’ Killer’s Code’



If ever you
set foot
outside this house
Smack you, I will


If ever you
cook anything
I don’t like
Bash you, I will


If ever you
give birth to
a female child
Rap you, I will


If ever you
marry a man
of your choice
Smash you, I will


If ever you
ask for your
property rights
Whack you, I will

Fauzia Rafique

Photo from Aljazeera
Poem from Fauzia’s chapbook ‘Holier Than Life’.



‘Candle Light Vigiler’


I’m a Candle
Light Vigiler
vigiling over
murders of masses
of people burning
dollar store candles
every other week
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city

sometimes i use look-alike blinking fake little candles, still, the tears are real like the blood that is spilled of the innocent unarmed civilians childrens

but my vigils
get slurped by the party politicos
solidaritos seeming progressivos
who speak without questioning authoritos
without threatening ideologeos
of the very systemos
that breed the demandos
and create the supplyos
for the (designated) MURDERERS
and the (appointed) KILLERS
of the (compulsive) COLONIZERS

a gimmick named ISIS, for example, is a US-NATO toy created to achieve certain corporate goals for the war pharmaceutical religion construction finance industry

candle light vigiling
has made me a hostage to
the onslaught of
violence carried out to
make more profit for
a few bankers officers
and priests
a hostage to
the sorrow of
innocent deaths
a prisoner to the powers
that need to feed
the oceans of
their greed
with the rivers of fresh
red- warm

‘pray for baghdad’-‘islam is a violent religion’-‘all muslims are not terrorists’-‘good morning’-‘brexit the refugees’-‘kill colored migrants’- ‘Black Lives Matter, No?’ -‘send more weapons to middle east’-‘eid mubarik’- but i never auditioned for this role and i never invested in your goal

The hostage the prisoner
the sorrowful individual
must break
her cage before
the oceans of greed
usurp all blood before
vigiling extinguishes
all dollar store candles
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city

Fauzia Rafique

Photo from Roshni Chanda

‘The Almighty’ by Fauzia Rafique

Dedicated to Afghanistan’s Shaheed Bibi Farkhanda Malikzada who was killed by a mob in Kabul at the false accusations of blasphemy on March 19, 2015. We are privileged to have Farkhanda’s in-destructible spirit among us.

Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac
ever great for turning
my little me into
a big powerful we, so big
so big (more than ten at least!)
no one can stop
me as i give
and take life in your
home, on street
in the park, fields
work, school, factory
college, univers
-ity, no one stops me
i’m not just
me but we are we
Allah the ever great
is always, always
with me, the little
Man Almighty

I tell you what
to do what
to wear what
to say what
and not what
obey me or then what
‘BLASPHEMY!’ a cry
in my ecstasy, i attack
and we kill
(there and then) with wood
wood planks, stones
boulders, bricks
words, fatwas, firearms
honor, acid, poison, purdah
mutilate, behead, gang (episodes
of man-power) rape
buy and sell, produce
more porn
to later watch with
me, the little
Man Almighty

i get erect
-ions, hundreds
and thousands,
by using against you
the gods of jesus
and moses, raam
and krishan, mahatma
budh, waheguru khalsa, works
in other places but
here, i like mo’s youthful
and tighter sharia, as good
as any, it suits
me, the little
Man Almighty
Wallah! Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac

(The video appeared on my facebook newsfeed on December 31.)

‘I am Charlie’ is not about Charlie


‘I am Charlie’ is not about Charlie. It’s about me, you, and the values we hold dear.

The value, for example, that no one must be killed for expressing their views, that no one must be made to live in fear for their views. For us all to be free to express ourselves. For all of us to have the right to Freedom of Expression.

It may be of interest to me to research and to figure out if Charlie Hebdo is racist, Islamophobic, an instrument of White Colonialists and/or an outright right wing fascist publication but the results of this fact-finding mission will have no bearing on my ‘I’m Charlie’ decision. Rather they’ll help me hone and strengthen my ongoing struggle against racism, islamophobia, colonialism and fascism. In other words, it doesn’t matter who or what Charlie Hebdo was or is, what matters is who i am, who you are, and how we choose to defend ourselves.

Being selective in our support for basic human rights because of who the victims were or how the incidents are playing out in their larger contexts or if we favor the power-holders who benefit from such incidents or if it was a staged drama, is actually a callous position to take. We are asking humans to be more human than some others to enjoy our support for the protection of their lives. Here is an example where support is selectively offered, so we can see where this thinking leads us. ‘Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Shariat Courts, Jirga and Madrassa institutions only support humans that are Muslims.’ Right? Wrong! These institutions mostly support humans who are prosperous, Sunni, Adult, Male Muslims of perhaps Punjabi variety.

Some ifs and buts. If i am against US Drone strikes in Pakistan, and so are the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, should i withdraw my opposition for fear of being found on the same side as my enemies? Don’t think so, though i may add a footnote stating that my opposition to US Drone strikes does not constitute support for the zealots. If the main beneficiaries of the massacre of journalists in Paris appear to be the conservatives and European governments who are now tightening their racist/islamophobic laws against migrants and Muslims, should i leave the ‘i’m Charlie’ enclosure? No, but i will give active support to the local/global movements protesting against this usage, like i do against the usage of Malala Yousafzai by these same people. And if the bloodshed in Paris earlier this month was a staged drama, we know for sure it wasn’t staged by any of the 12 people who got shot and killed by Al-Qaeda Goons.

In all of this, and away from the enemy camp where the leaders of the free world and the religious fundamentalists both reside perpetuating violence and weaponry, i find myself making my way between Freedom-of-Expression Criers who do not see how their unqualified mantra facilitates racist/war agendas, and Islamophobia Wailers who are unable to acknowledge the necessity to confront/criticize Islam, while both use their dearly held positions as extreme accusations against each other. And then confronting the limp argument within, from the protectors of the ‘religious sentiment’ who ask us to follow the thinking of extreme fundamentalist by ‘not offending’ in the first place those religious people who will then be moved to ‘rightfully’ kill the offenders further inciting backlash against Muslims in the West. A clever ploy that places all responsibility of all violence on the victim/s of violence.

As a non-religious Muslim Canadian woman, my position to defend Freedom of Expression includes my right to reject victim-bashing in both my worlds, and to criticize Islam, and to resist all oppressive constructs of my ‘free world’ such as class, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexuality, corporate profitism, and more. That’s how i continue to be Charlie.




Punjabi word ‘ganDholi’ means an unbecoming ‘seedpod’, and can easily expand to include ‘weed’ as undesirable vegetation. Poet Shah Madhulal Hussain (1539-1599) uses it to say this about himself:
BaghaN de vich phul ajaib, tooN ve ek ganDholi
‘Awesome flowers in gardens, you are a seedpod too’

This reminds me of an Urdu couplet by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869), who wrote it for a protege of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Ghalib says:
bana hai Shah ka musahib phhiray hai itrata
wagarna shehr maiN Ghalib ki abroo kia hai

‘walks with pride/arrogance as a protege of the emperor
else what value/honor Ghalib has in the city’

The Emperor, imprisoned in Rangoon by the British, wrote a poem that made him immortal as a poet. This is the last couplet of that heart-wrenching ghazal where the Poet mourns the inaccessibility of his favored burial grounds in Delhi.
Kitna hai bad-naseeb Zafar, dafan ke liye
do gaz zameen mil na saki, ku e yaar main

‘how unfortunate you are Zafar, for burial
two yards of land could not be had, in the lane of the beloved’

Bahadur Shah Zafar passed away in prison November 1862, and this is his death anniversary month.

Regarding death, Madhulal Hussain is intriguing in his Kafi Aithay rehna nahiN, koi baat chalan de ker vo ‘Here not going to stay, say something about leaving vo’

Kahay Hussain hyati loReiN, murn theiN aggay mur vo
‘Hussain says if you need your life, die before your death vo’

Fauzia Zohra Rafique