by: R. Kafri
Dedicated to all women runners. Actually to all women out there who seem to always be running to something or from something. Here is to running towards your dreams and not away from your fears…
The road does not ask questions. It does not care if she is wearing hijab, or shorts. The road does not judge if she runs fast or walks slow. It is not bothered by her earphones or her choice of music. It does not label her as liberal or conservative. It does not question her ethics based on her hair color or her clothes. The road never wonders what she does for a living, or how many children she has. It does not ask about her age, or when will she get married. It does not encourage her to get married young or old.
The road is present every day, she can go to it at her leisure. The road curls around her village, her town, her neighborhood or around her house; it offers her solace from the noise that is her life. The road will not beat her, it will not put her down. It will not judge her for being Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu for that matter. It will not ask her if her shoes are expensive or cheap. The road will not stop her from pursuing her dream, it will not pull her out of school and marry her off to a man triple her age. The road is there for her to run on it, to free her mind, to rest her soul from all that is ugly, all that is violent. The road will not rape her, or rob her of her innocence. It will not leave bruises all over her body. It will not promise to love her only to control her. The road with its dark asphalt, its sharp turns and soft hills, will offer her a good morning summer breeze or a good evening winter chill. The road does not care if she gave birth naturally or if she even opted for a C-section. The road will not ask her how many months did she breast feed and then judge her motherhood based on that. It will not label her too skinny, too fat, too dark or too light.
The road will not ask why her dress is too short, or her skirt is too long. It will give her space to think, because she can think. It will give her a place to feel because she can feel. The road will not debate with her whether she has the right to open bank accounts for her children, or if she can remarry if the love of her life died. The road does not care if she was single, married, divorced, widowed or none of the above. The road will not promise to love her, marry her, father her children and then slaughter her over a custody battle. It will not throw her in a well for a crime she did not commit. It will not kill her because she is a woman.
The road will never question her honor, and it will not kill her in the name of honor. The road is there for her to stand, demonstrate, RUN, walk, play, laugh, scream. And sometimes the road is there for her to get away or at least try to get away, so the next time you see a woman running frantically, if you are not ready to propel her to what she is running towards or protects her from whatever she is running away from, just make way so she can at least get away…
Dr. Riyam Kafri-AbuLaban is an assistant professor of organic chemistry at Al Quds Bard College based at Al Quds University-Abu Dis. She is the founder and managing partner of Riyamo Natural Body Care Products in Ramallah. She co-writes and co-manages The Big Olive, a blog about life in Palestine and Ramallah as seen by two young professors teaching and living here. She is married to Ahmed AbuLaban, and both have recently joined the fearless frontlines of parenthood with their beautiful and lovely twins Basil and Taima. She can be reached at email@example.com