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One rainy morning, many years ago, my teacher told us that we “were the future of this country”, that we, can achieve anything and everything, and that every country’s strongest weapon –surprisingly- wasn’t their gun, but It was their youth.
I’ve always wondered if every little kid actually believed that, we would have inventors, breath- taking technologies and break-through medical achievements.
But we don’t! So it’s either that my teacher was lying, or that nobody believed him!
As I grew up, I realized, as an Iraqi, you weren’t supposed to have dreams, you weren’t expected to be extraordinary. Parents were – and still are - too busy battling wars, poverty, fears and the grief of their missing beloveds. They had no time to sit down and listen to their 8 years Old’s dreams and hopes!
But now we’re older –and hopefully wiser- and I could finally write down my message from a young Iraqi, to the world!
Take a good look at my face!
Cause tomorrow, I will become the future of our race
I will be the one who will take your hand from the dark and walk you through the light
I will give you power, knowledge and insight
Study my features, my movements and the way I breathe
The way I inhale my dreams and exhale them after their death
Please. Take a good look at my face
Cause tomorrow, my footsteps will be the path that others will trace
And Please. Always keep an extra pen and paper with you. Just in case.
Cause in the future, when I speak, you will want to write down my words, the words that time will try to erase.
I can’t tell you much about the world now, because I don’t know much about it.yet.
But I promise, I will learn, I will fall and I will rise.
In the past, you didn’t let me speak. You killed my thoughts, buried them, and I was forbidden,
To even grief their exclusion.
Now, finally you let me speak, but you won’t listen,
And you left me battling my confusion.
I’ve been told since childhood that everything I want to do is impossible. How easy it is to create such an illusion?
Above my skin, you had put layers and layers of prejudice, guilt and fear.
You told me I was nothing but an ordinary person, and fighting for my dreams was something I couldn’t bare.
And when you saw passion and talent in me, you simply didn’t care!
You made me believe that following others was my only obligation
And that I’m no different from the older generation
Between my dreams, and your beliefs I lost my concentration
I had nothing to follow except my heart for navigation
I know I’m young, but I still have the courage to say no and my determination
I don’t need your approval and I don’t need your validation
Yes I was lost…but I promise one day I’ll find my destination
And until that day, please try to not forget my face
Because my hands will write history, and as I walk, the earth will turn green under my feet
And I know, for sure, that the world without me, will always be incomplete
And please take a good look at my hand,
Cause with those hands I will build their city and your land
And between my fingers your dreams will land
I don’t want you to think I’m arrogant. Please don’t misunderstand!
I’m a dreamer, who has her dreams, youth and courage to embrace
I’m not asking for much, just please try to remember my face
Cause after this moment, the world and me will be in a race
I will be running not “from” but TOWARDS my dreams
And if you come back tomorrow, I won’t be here; I won’t be standing still in my place.
I’m sorry but I have passion, goals and dreams to chase
And I also apologize if I’m too fast for you to keep up with my pace
But I wasted too many years, looking around for a path to follow or steps to trace
And those same years are the ones that I will never replace
They taught me you were wrong, and that morning, my teacher words were my grace
He was right, I am the future of this country, this world. And one day, I will be your future.
That’s the reason why you should remember my face!
You are capable of anything you set your heart to Aya,
keep up that passion.
Wow, there is so much in that - pain and defiance and salvation. I know it's a mistake to confuse narrator with author. But I think your poem expresses what a lot of people feel (no doubt heightened growing up in a place like Iraq) so I felt I could empathise strongly. With the idea of having childhood dreams, the frustration caused when these dreams and reality don't seem compatible, and then ultimately how important it is not to give up on them.
I think the pleading, at times commanding repetition of Take a Good Look at My Face is powerful, and your careful word choice gives the rhyme weight and seriousness, keeping with the poem's tone.
Sorry, I know that's probably over-analysis, but the poem really had an effect. I'm going to read it again now.