Why Do We Write? Because We Simply Can’t Do Otherwise

The easy answer would be that we pick up our pens or switch on our computers to “give a voice to the voiceless”, to enable people to speak through our ink, but that would just be a bit too easy and above all, would lack honesty. Writing, for all the altruism giving it its letters of glory, is an eminently selfish act, for we, first and foremost, write for ourselves. As activists, we write to denounce, to highlight, to let the unknown be known, to make ourselves heard, in a word, to make us feel less helpless in the world we live in. Words are the first weapon of choice to fight frustration. We write to relieve ourselves from the boiling anger we feel sometimes, it’s a compulsion that cannot, should not, be contained, it’s the automatic response to the triggers that are discrimination, injustice and corruption.

We write because we simply can’t do otherwise.

We write because, when faced with the blank piece of paper, we are masters of our stories at last, free to tell them the way we want, based on our own research and our own guts. We become free to challenge mainstream media and thoughts, free to question accepted theories and language, free to look within our own selves and movements and decide we also need to keep ourselves in check not to become what we’re resisting against.

Writing will always be the weapon of feminist activists worldwide as it allows us to share stories and testimonies and to advocate for our rights, to make them known, to make them resonate in people’s ears and eyes and hearts and minds. Remember that old written slogan, Nothing About Us, Without Us? Nothing shall be written for us and about us if we don’t have our say.

Writing shall however never fulfil its complete purpose without the actual much needed talking, the complementary next step that involves taking the writing to the streets. Writing and Talking go hand in hand if we are to truly reach out to people and start shifting mentalities and shaking beliefs.

We write because we believe and hope that we will be read, by someone, somewhere. Words can travel, they transcend borders of all kinds. And the feminist struggle is universal: so we need tools enabling universal communication. My written word is the link connecting me to my sister half way across the world facing the same hardships as me or wanting to know about them. Social media and technologies help us relay our writings, help us attract attention and gather momentum.

Besides, didn’t you notice how words shield us from prejudices, violence, and discrimination? Safely hidden behind my words, you finally pay attention to what I have to say, to the meanings of the intersections of my letters, you don’t care so much about my confession, my gender or my looks, you look into what I’m saying, you start a debate around you and within you rather than
half-listening and wondering where my family comes from, where I got that skirt while thinking about what you’ll have for your dinner. When you read me, you’re with me in so many much and deeper ways than if I were in front of you, talking to you.

We write because we understand the powers of words and their impact.

We write because we hope, we hope that if we write and speak and write a bit more, words will work their magic, and that finally, people will know and will understand and something, somehow, will shift.

So pick up that pen, switch on your computer, turn on that phone. Move, quick, freedom won’t wait.

Rather, it awaits at your fingertips.


Sawt al' Niswa



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