Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Dear Zari: The Secret Lives of the Women of Afghanistan" by Zarghuna Kargar

250 pages

This is a collection of stories gathered for "Afghan Women's Hour," a weekly BBC program that ran from 2005-2o12. Kargar, who grew up in Afghanistan before moving to the United Kingdom, used the connections she had there to find women with interesting, inspiring, and often heartbreaking stories and shared them on the program. There's a child bride given as payment to settle a family feud. One woman spent nearly every day of her life in a dark room weaving carpets. One girl was raised as a boy because her family couldn't handle the shame of being son-less. Many of the Afghan women women featured had to tell their stories anonymously because revealing their identities would endanger them. 

I think I got a lot out of this book. I knew things were bad for women in Afghanistan, but hearing individuals' stories, in their own voices, made it really feel real. That many of these women were able to overcome such insane obstacles is a huge inspiration, and it makes me realize that if they can do that, I can do much more in my more secure environment. Their stories put my problems in perspective. 

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