The Marionette

Posted: February 23, 2010 in My Poems

The Marionette

You can find her in the street,

Or on stage to entertain,


Or at home sitting at your feet.


It’s easy to wash her brain!


Because she’s a marionette!


She moves at the point of your fingertips,


Seductive or romantic, depends on the trend,


Curvy, skinny, blond, or with silicon lips,


She is in your hands, easy to mold and bend.


She’s a marionette!


But she must not only be made to please,


To be fair, she must also be allowed to lead.


Just offer her a few important roles and degrees,


Make her feel that it is possible to succeed,


Even though she’s a marionette!


And when she’s about to take control,


Create a perplexing issue for the feminist tools;


Who can take the absent mother’s role?!


Make her feel guilty and incomplete to set the rules.


She can never rule ’cause she’s a marionette!


Thrown in an ocean of wild contradictions;


Be naked but virtuous and respectable,


Be free but hold on to the roots and traditions,


Be strong but tender and delectable


Poor drowned marionette!


Lost on her way searching for Superman,


Trying to be a beloved Barbie.


Entrapped in the dark world of Batman,


Making a fruitless attempt to be,


Yet she’s never going to be but a marionette!


Perished on her way to attain fake promises


Of eternal glory, youth, and beauty,


Enslaved on her way to seek illusive promises


Of justice, freedom, and equality,


Resorting to the so-called saviors of the marionette!


The masked saviors act in a hypocrite sly way,


To make her think she’s the one who’s throwing the dice,


To believe that she’s playing the game in her way,


Unaware that she’s the only one who’s paying the price.


Foolish marionette!


They give her, let her, prevent her, deceive her,


They’re the givers; they’re the takers,


They control her, convince her, educate her;


But they’re always the decision makers,


‘Cause she’s only a marionette!


They say: Listen to her, enjoy her, pretend to learn from her


Make her feel that she has power over you,


They say : Play with her, smash her, fix her or throw her,


After all, nobody will put the blame on you


For breaking a frivolous marionette!


Poor marionette, cluttering and stumbling,


Can’t deicide whether to be blond or brunette.


Poor marionette, stuttering and jumbling,


Doomed to please the saviors of the marionette,


But never to comfort the weary self of the marionette!


Friday, December 13, 2002


  1. Faraz Omar says:

    WoW…. that’s very nice! congratulations.

  2. Aha, interesting views expressed here and certainly some valid ones.

    The problem is that a lot of the valid points you make aren’t relevant to the status of women but to men as well. They are relevant to the way the western world operates as a whole.

    In that respect your marionette should be 2 marionettes, one male and one female, and what you wrote would be true for both of them. Please take the time to think of it.

    Now I’d love you to explain how a lady living in Saudi Arabia who is not allowed to drive or work is not a marionnette in the hands of the men who control her.

  3. مها نور إلهي says:

    Thanks a lot Mr. Faraz for your encouraging words.

  4. مها نور إلهي says:

    Dear Nathalie Avignon,
    I agree with you that men are marionettes, too. The difference is that men are controlled by politicians and women are controlled by men. I’ve always believed that women’s oppression or slavery anywhere in the world is a result of man’s oppression. It’s a vicious circle; the stronger oppresses the weaker and so on.

    Women in Saudi Arabia and all over the world are marionettes some way or the other. The problem of women is that they are either treated as Goddesses or as inferior human beings; there is no point in the middle except in very few cases.

    Being deprived of driving in Saudi Arabia is not the real issue. I mean even if they allow women to drive in KSA and still look at them in an inferior way, the problem won’t be solved.
    I once read something by an Islamic scholar saying that “If you want to free a woman, free her man first.”
    As for work, I think you have a very wrong idea. Women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to work. My mother who is born in the early fifties has been working for about 25 years and she is a professor in English Literature and so are my aunts who are older than my mother. I’ve been working since 2000 and it was my choice.
    The problem of working women here is basically because of women themselves. Some of them are just too lazy to want to work and some think that a woman loses her pride if she works.
    If you come to Jeddah, you will see thousands of women working everywhere; in companies, hospitals, clinics, sales, and educational institutes.

    Don’t believe any one who tells you that women here are not allowed to work. In fact, some men urge their wives to work to get their money but that’s another sort of slavery and a serious issue that needs another article.

    Thanks for your rich comment and view.

    • Chiara says:

      Maha–very interesting about women working, and kudos to your mother and aunt. I think the overall statistics of women working in Saudi are low though, only 5-11% of women work, probably due to a combination of factors societal, workplace, familial, and personal as you have detailled.

  5. Chiara says:

    I love the extended metaphor of the marionette. Sadly you capture extremely well elements of what I have experienced in dysfunction professional settings where a prime driver of the dysfunction is sexism in the interest of preserving the leader’s power. The leader treats the men just as badly, including feminizing them by innuendo about their masculinity, and yet the worst is reserved for the women, and all are encouraged to move en masse from attacking one of the leader’s targets to the next. This mini-society may achieve well but eventually implodes…until the next one is created.
    Fortunately in my experience it is an anomaly. Even well-functioning traditional structures have room for adaptation that these dysfunctional ones lack.
    Congratulations on a well-written and thought-provoking poem!

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Thank you, Chiara for your encouraging and enriching comment. I wrote this poem after watching a documentary called “in the making” which showed aspects of a model’s life behind the scenes. t really annoyed me to see how those men were treating the women as dolls in a very demeaning way, and i guess the program stirred a lot of similar stories in my memeory.


  6. Hello,

    I’m a university researcher and I work on socials issues and labor market in Saudi Arabia. I want to have Saudis opinions on a specific issue. So I have a web site that give the issue and where people can give their opinion on it. I want to know if you accept to make a little post about this and paste my web site address. That will help me to obtain responses. Please answer me yes or no, I just want a know if you have received my message. Thank you for your time.

    Olivier Arvisais

  7. مها نور إلهي says:

    Hello Mr. Oliver Arvisais,
    Thanks for your interest. I will add your web site to my both my Arabic and English blogs. I will also post my opinion at your site soon.


  8. coralbead says:

    I agree with freeing the men as well as women.

    Free the men from their prejudices against women, and they will have a healthier view of the opposite sex.

    Free the girls from the kind of upbringing that they’re getting right now, and they will grow up mature, secure and able to help in the quest to change an entire nation and the ummah as a whole.

    Free everyone from the clutches of pseudo-holy men who mislead by fatwas that go against the very essence of Islam, and have them learn what is the truth, and we’ll have the kind of society that the Blessed Prophet and his companions used to live in.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      thank you for your enlightening comment..and just a clarification…this poem goes for all women and women around the world….a good deal of emancipation is needed worldwide…

  9. Kiki says:

    May I know where do you get the first picture?? Best if u got the name of the statue. Thanks

  10. Bob says:

    Congratulations on defining the problem. I hope for providence as we all seek solution.

  11. Grace says:

    Do you mind leaving the link to where you found the artwork please? I would love to see and know the artist of the work. Thank you

    • Maha Noor Elahi says:

      Actually I don’t know about the artist. I just searched for “marionette” and found the picture but that was a long time ago. Thank you

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