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Removing the Veil

Removing the Veil

In honor of Tahirih - 'The Pure One'

For centuries, ‘she’ lived in the shadows

behind veils, behind walls, behind men

who did not see or hear a woman unless 

her voice was a soothing affirmation 

of her lesser existence.

Made servile in her servitude

without voice and vote

in the society, she brought forth

from womb and heart.


Until a new era dawned

and a bold heroine heralded it,

In Persia, encircled by the 

watchful wrath of mullahs

and the king of the Qajar Dynasty-

where it was a sin to look 

at the shadow of a woman,

Tahirih arose- the first woman

to remove her veil 

and announce to her executioners:

“You can kill me as soon as you like, 

but you will never stop the emancipation of women.”


Her voice echoes in anthems:

I remove my veil,

cast away as a relic of the past

I stand chaste and pure 

as I am- in the eyes of God

no cover over my head 

makes me any purer.


I remove my veil to reveal 

the glory of a new day

to show you the unseen possibilities-

to unleash the force of the waters

hidden in the reservoir of my heart.

I remove my veil

opening the way for women to

balance and heal the world

as they join forces to make half whole.


I remove my veil 

my visage shorn of fear

no more covering and cowering

I show my capacities

and step forward into 

the arena of life

widening the sphere

of love and knowledge 

to change the destiny of humankind


I remove my veil and am equal in the sight of God and man.


By Lisa Perskie


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