To Women Who Don’t Support Women’s Rights

Nada Faris
4 min readApr 20, 2023

Abolish Article 153

Abolish Article 153’s International Women’s Day event at Circle of Peace (Al-Shaheed Park) in March 2017

This is an edited version of the spoken word poem first performed at Abolish Article 153’s International Women’s Day event at Circle of Peace (Al-Shaheed Park), March 2017.

Right this way. Find a seat. Get comfortable.
This may #burn a little.

Allow me to elucidate:
You disco-dance with fire daily yet you call it “orange light.”

I’ve been watching you, sweetheart,
swaying to the left, swaying to the right,
enjoying the safety of the night.

Neither disasters nor monsters threatening
appear to be lurking near or far.

So secure, you’ve turned this disco into a tango,
loving your one two tug and sucker-punch.

You swing to the music in the background
feeling fine. Oh so fine.
Your warm muffins continue resting
on cloth covered tables
wafting an odor of invite
for fun gatherings.

Your smart phones buzz as embryos in holsters
ravenous for compliments and empty chit-chat.

Let’s get real now.
Who gave you all of that?

There are women to whom your “disagreements”
are nothing but babble.

They’re not in it for the show and spectacle
like you.

They’re too busy
operating a more elaborate apparatus
known as “higher purpose,” a lofty desire
to render — even on pain of death — all humans: “human,”
by rewriting misogynistic obstacles
as narratives of unconditional love
and sacrifice.

Because women’s rights are human rights.

We stand here today upright as a result of the bravery
of those women who preceded us,
so make sure you do not,
through arrogance or ignorance,
dismantle their progress.

Remember what was bequeathed to us
by Sarah Akbar,
who upon entering the male-dominated industry
of gas and oil had asked to “get her hands dirty”
like her masculine counterparts
and was told that “fieldwork is a man’s job.”

Imagine if she had sat around waiting for permission
that was never granted, or worse,
if she had internalized their statement as a “fact.”

I bet that you’re all glad she hustled.
Moved by internal power,
she doused fire after fire with her own bare hands,
learning on the job, and yes,
defying the higher-ups.

So when the planets aligned and her country called for a heroine,
she was ready to rise up to the challenge,
and put out burning wells shoulder-to-shoulder with men.

Women have been performing fearless acts
that paved the way for social and political change
to take root in fertile grounds.

Do not ruin what they have sown
by fighting one another on linguistic technicalities,
and if we are not yet ready to reap all the rewards
be patient,
work on your own cause.

Let others nurture their own seeds
in their own flowerbeds,
so we can all enjoy

Labels matter for sure.
But where are you spending your energy?

If you’re attacking someone who is working toward change
in a category that is more meaningful to them
than it is to you,
ask yourself,
if it’s out of envy, instead of truth,
you’re out here blocking their progress.

Ask yourself:
Where are you really spending your energy?

And when in doubt,
recall Asrar Al-Qabandi:

Remember how she left us
after a month of brutish torture,
and regular rape in front of other detainees,
never once divulging names or secrets of the resistance,
loving your safety and my rights
even when they pumped her full of drugs.

Remember how she came back to us,
brutally murdered,
packed in a black garbage bag,
tossed outside of her father’s house,
with an ax sticking out of her head.

And don’t you dare utter a word about
the ‘biology of the female’,
her ‘emotional instability’,
or ‘feebleness.’

Gender equality is the marrow in our Kuwaiti bones.
It is why we stand tall.

So when you decide to tell someone
you don’t support women’s rights
for whatever reason,
take care you do not lose a chunk of your soul
in your vapid theories.

Because women’s rights are human rights.

And we are the living proof.

Another picture from the event
Another picture from the event
Al-Anood Al-Sharekh introducing the event



Nada Faris

Kuwaiti writer interested in language, literature, identity, community, and creativity. Sharing notes from my 10-year journey.