Issue Monologue:

My Hidden Opportunity

I woke up early this morning, on the day of April 25th, 2000, before my brothers got up. My mom gave me a pomegranate to bring with me for lunch. She looked at me smiling, repeating my name over and over again. I am Aaqila, which means intelligence. Now, at the age of 13, I am finally living up to my name, by going to school.
This morning, when I arrived at the small entrance way to my classroom, I looked inside and saw three females. My teacher, Ms. Adeela, was already here, along with two other girls. Over the next half hour, 7 other girls came in, all at their assigned times to arrive. Ever since I can remember, it has been my dream to come to school, to learn to read and write. I want to be just as smart as my father and my brothers.
My mother used to know how to read and write, but now she can’t really remember. It has been so long since the Taliban came to power. Growing up, I was not allowed to go to school. I was not even allowed to leave the house without my father. My mom says that she used to be able to go to school and have a job. She had the freedom to do what she wanted. Now she is not even allowed to leave the house without my father.
In 1996, the Taliban banned education for all females. They became very strict and kept making more and more laws. Now, it is illegal for me to go to school, but my parents really want me to be educated, especially my mother She says that the Taliban doesn’t want schools for girls to be opened. They don’t want women to have an education. I think that they are afraid that us girls will get too smart and will not follow their rules anymore!  
My parents were always in a disagreement about me going to school. We all knew how dangerous it would be for me to go to school. The Taliban often burn down schools, and hurt the people inside. My dad also didn’t want me going to school, because all of the teachers were males. He said that he will never allow his only daughter to be educated by a male. In January, when my mom found out that Ms. Adeela was a secret teacher, she convinced my dad to let me come to school. The name Adeela means equal. I think this name fits her very well because as a teacher, equality is what she really wants. She wants us females to have an education, so that we will be equal to the men in our village. I think that Ms. Adeela is a very brave lady. She is risking a lot, just by coming to this building every day.
When I sit inside this classroom, I feel very proud of what I have conquered, proud of how smart I have become and proud of my bravery. At the same time, there is always a constant fear. At any time, the Taliban can break in, and kill us all. This is why we arrive at different times, so that no one will ever notice. I wish my school was like my brother’s school, where everyone lines up in perfect lines, and walks in all together. Maybe someday, people will stand up, and then life will finally be equal.

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