MEENA (1956-1987) was born on February 27, 1956 in Kabul. During her school days, students in Kabul and other Afghan cities were deeply engaged in social activism and rising mass movements. She left the university to devote herself as a social activist to organizing and educating women. In pursuit of her cause for gaining the right of freedom of expression and conducting political activities, Meena laid the foundation of RAWA in 1977. This organization was meant to give voice to the deprived and silenced women of Afghanistan. She started a campaign against the Russian forces and their puppet regime in 1979 and organized numerous processions and meetings in schools, colleges and Kabul University to mobilize public opinion.

Another great service rendered by her for the Afghan women is the launching of a bilingual magazine, Payam-e-Zan (Women's Message) in 1981. Through this magazine RAWA has been projecting the cause of Afghan women boldly and effectively. Payam-e-Zan has constantly exposed the criminal nature of fundamentalist groups. Meena also established Watan Schools for refugee children, a hospital and handicraft centers for refugee women in Pakistan to support Afghan women financially. Her active social work and effective advocacy against the views of the fundamentalists and the puppet regime provoked the wrath of the Russians and the fundamentalist forces alike and she was assassinated by agents of KHAD (Afghanistan branch of KGB) and their fundamentalist accomplices in Quetta, Pakistan, on February 4,1987. 

About the recording that appears on this compilation, a member of RAWA had this to say: “We don't know much about the history of the tape. Meena was very much a lover of poems and recitals, and she herself had recorded some poems (including the one I sent you) on a tape.

This tape was discovered after her assassination, among some documents and tapes that had belonged to her. Most likely the tape has been recorded in Peshawar in 1985 or so.” *Note: This recording is included due to its significance, the recording was restored and cleaned up to the best of our capacities, but is still quite rough.

I’ll never return
I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children
I’ve arisen from the rivulets of my brother’s blood
My nation’s wrath has empowered me
My ruined and burnt villages fill me with hatred against the enemy,
I’m the woman who has awoken,
I’ve found my path and will never return.
I’ve opened closed doors of ignorance
I’ve said farewell to all golden bracelets
Oh compatriot, I’m not what I was
I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve found my path and will never return.
I’ve seen barefoot, wandering and homeless children
I’ve seen henna-handed brides with mourning clothes
I’ve seen giant walls of the prisons swallow freedom in their ravenous stomach
I’ve been reborn amidst epics of resistance and courage
I’ve learned the song of freedom in the last breaths, in the waves of blood and in victory
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, no longer regard me as weak and incapable
With all my strength I’m with you on the path of my land’s liberation.
My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women
My fists are clenched with the fists of thousands compatriots
Along with you I’ve stepped up to the path of my nation,
To break all these sufferings all these fetters of slavery,
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, I’m not what I was
I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve found my path and will never return.