Somaia Ramish

I am a poet, writer, journalist and women’s rights activist from Afghanistan, living in The Netherlands.

This website reflects my efforts trying to survive life: a continuous process of breaking down and standing up again. I was born in 1986 in Herat, Afghanistan. During the 1st Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, my family fled to Tehran, Iran. After the first fall of the Taliban, I returned to Afghanistan. During the 20 years that followed, I worked hard to contribute to building a democratic and equal society.

Again, in my adult life, I had to abandon my country, my dreams, my whole life. As so many other Afghans around the world, I had to seek asylum as a refugee after the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

This is my first personal website. It reflects the story of my life. In The Netherlands I started a new life, while the tools life gave me remain the same. My words, my poetry, my voice remain my weapons.

It is my wish to continue to be an advocate for a better life, especially for the people of Afghanistan. The women, the young girls, the artists, the poets and everybody suffering in silence because of the recent tragedy.

When I miss you
I become a handful of dust.
Plant a grape vine in me, please.
I want to inhale Herat.

Somaia Ramish
Translation by Soleh Wolpe


2011 – Member of the South Asian Poetry Association SAARC

My poetry has been translated into Nepalese, Hindi, Urdu, Russian and other languages.

2014 – Publication of my poem Load Poems Like Guns

And several other poems in Load Poems like Guns, Farzana Mari.

2022 – Accepted as a member of PEN

The International Association of Poets.

Human Rights Activist

targeted his heart
but all he could think
of was the kohl
around his lover’s eyes
cascading in his absence on her fate.

Somaia Ramish
Translation by Soleh Wolpe

During the last twenty years, I have dealt with all kinds of violence against women, forced marriages and many social and political problems. Twenty years of experience working with vulnerable groups like women, children and disabled people have put me in many difficult situations. Reporting about painful and tragic situations, writing about social harm, honor killings, family violence and seeing the injured was a part of my work in Afghanistan.
There are many stories I will never forget. For instance, the story of Seterah. She was a girl I met in Herat whose husband had cut off her nose. Seeing the expression of her face, witnessing the tragedy that happened to her is one of the nightmares of my life. It also gives me strength to continue to raise my voice against such brutal violations of human rights.

Journalist and Writer

Call me by my name

In 2014 I wrote the essay ‘Call me by my name’, about the Afghan custom to eliminate the names of women, which was mentioned in the New York Times.

The Silent majority in Afghanistan depends on the Taliban

In December 2022 my article ‘The Silent majority in Afghanistan depends on the Taliban’ was published on in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is nu echt een totalitaire militaire staat

A second article was translated and published in the Dutch national newspaper NRC and the Belgian national newspaper De Standaard.

Ongoing projects

House of Poetry in Exile – Baamdaad

My latest worldwide effort is the House of Poetry in Exile Baamdaad (Dawn), which calls on poets, writers, literary and cultural associations worldwide to support freedom of expression through art and poetry in Afghanistan.