The war within and the war outside

Published: September 29, 2013

It is so hard to continually face two bleak fronts simultaneously; the world outside and the world within, both shrouded in a never ending, dismal hopelessness.

It is early morning,

The sky is still dark outside,

The house is silent.

I take my cup of tea

And turn on the computer,

Scanning different news sites,

From around the world.

My eyes run over the headlines,

In that hope of finding,

Some evidence of humanity,



But there is none.


The advanced technology,

That brings the world to my fingertips,

By encasing it on the keyboard,

Has yet to find solutions,

Or resolutions,

For the dreary, never-ending disputes,

Between nations and its people.


The weary world continues to be at war.


I turn off the computer,

And walk to the television,

Hope a little sparked,

That it might bring me,

Better news,

From some corner of the world.

A sliver, a hint of harmony, amity, tranquillity,

–Some semblance of accord–


I flip channels in near desperation.


But the world remains aflame.


My cup of tea is empty,

I hear footsteps,

The people in the house are waking up,

I hear someone yell out my name,

I cringe inwardly.

The first of many more such calls,

Like always,

I wish the tone was softer,

A little more loving,

And perhaps a little more respectful,

But the coveted wish remains a wish.

My husband and his family are up,

My family too,

But yet to consider me one of their own.


I switch off the television,

And prepare myself for another day,

Of an inner, personal war,

With myself,

To remain steadfast, patient,

And above all, silent.


If only the world would stop fighting,

It would make it so much easier,

For me to face,

My personal challenges.


It is so hard to continually face two bleak fronts simultaneously;

The world outside,

And the world within,

Both shrouded in a never ending, dismal hopelessness.

Someone is calling me again.


Aalia Suleman

A freelance writer and poet who is keenly interested in the status of women in 21st century Pakistan. Her writing also zones in on Pakistan's new social and political status on a redefined global chessboard. She has a masters degree in English Literature and blogs and invites debates at 'Socio-politically Pakistani'. She tweets @aaliasuleman (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mosh


  • Parvez

    I got what you were trying to say but could not understand why you connect the two .
    One is out of your control but the other is not.Recommend

  • Azeem Aslam

    It’s just like an egg chicken storyRecommend

  • Sanam

    very nice! A lot of women would probably relate to it.Recommend

  • Andrew Sampson

    Very powerful poem Aalia,
    It really touched me and I shared it in a blog on Safe World for Women because we have many friends in Pakistan who we talk to all the time.
    I wrote this as the intro to the poem (which I published in full – hope you don’t mind)

    “This week, the scale of atrocities and disasters faced by the people of Pakistan has been jaw-dropping.
    First, the suicide bombs in a church in Peshawar, then the earthquakes in Baluchistan and today another bomb in a market in Peshawar.
    Daily, I read these reports and daily our friends in the country tell us the latest updates.
    We write to check whether our friends are ok – but we know full well that
    beneath the short replies there are family and friends who have sufferred.
    It is impossible, from afar, to really know how people feel.
    And then.

    Reading through the news reports from the Express Tribune, I came across this poem by Aalia Suleman, which gave me a deeper insight….”

    I don’t think I can post links here but look for Safe World for Women and you will find the blog entitled ‘A Poem from Pakistan’Recommend

  • Aadarsh

    The most powerful feature of the poem is the individual. The connection between the two ‘realms’, if I might say, is obvious. How softly does the poetess speak of a very sad tale, an individual’s, a woman’s woes, is nothing less than commendable. A good page of a diary, if not a very authentic and appreciable piece of literature.Recommend

  • Aalia Suleman

    Andrew Sampson

    Thank you for your kind comments. It was an honor to see my poem shared
    on your blog, A Safe World for Women. Sadly, in third world countries
    women not only face grim basic survival challenges such as poverty, lack
    of education, sexual discrimination and tough working conditions but
    also a third rate status within the four walls of the house. People say
    it is a woman’s fault for not speaking up and taking a stand and this
    is what creates this venomous environment of abuse for all women. I say
    it is an insensitive, callous, and uncharitable male dominated, third
    world society that enslaves women’s souls, their creativity and their
    growth. We need to educate men more than women with lessons of
    compassion and humanity in order for this status quo to change.Recommend

  • Ishaq Zaidi

    You try to wrote words driving in your mind’ GoOd one !!Recommend


    Its the actual portray of what most of the women are facing today!!
    one solution to get rid of the monotony is to get Busy with what one likes best or can do best in the given circumstances!!!Recommend