A New Dawn
A poem for International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The sun cuts through the morning sky.
It’s a new day tainted with old ways.
She sits, quiet, pensive, trying to be brave.
She thought she was ready but her beating heart betrays her.
The chants grow louder and louder.
Drowning her cries. Masking her fears.
The cut is here.
Hands that once loved and nurtured, now turn hard and cold.
Grandmas, Aunties, Mothers.
Carrying on a tradition that maimed them for life.
But still it must be done, the woman’s cross to bear.
PAIN, pain, pain.
It shatters her innocence and numbs her dreams.
A pain so deep it lasts a lifetime.
It cuts through her future, trimming it down to size.
Until there’s nothing there, just memories of what could have been.
STOP. Rewind. Erase.
It’s a new dawn.
Blades replaced by books and pens.
Fears turned into aspirations.
Despair to HOPE.
No more shall she suffer in the name of religion.
No more will tradition violate her rights.
We must defend and protect her childhood.
Arise young girl, a new day has come.
Daisy Serem-Esinapwaka is a Communication Officer with UNICEF Kenya. She is a Kenyan national and lives in Nairobi with her husband and their two sons.