Rated of 5
by Kris Lindbeck
The stories in this book go right to your heart. The women whose stories the author tells are heroines who have risked their lives to bring education and health care to women under Taliban rule, and are gearing up for a new struggle against another violent and still fundamentalist government (as well as running schools and a hospital for refugees in Pakistan). Many of these women are also survivors of violence and oppression, sometimes from governments and sometimes from their own families, and yet they remain hopeful in their work. Despite the horror of some of the stories told, the book is basically upbeat rather than depressing.
There is some interesting comparison of RAWA’s program of humanistic education for girls and boys with the fundamentalist madrassas (Islamic schools) which distort Islam and train poverty- stricken boys in violence. You will also find a stinging critique of Western reporting which romanticizes and/or trivializes the quaint conservatism of Afghans. Instead, it tells of many ordinary women, and many men, even uneducated ones, who have a rational hunger for peace and _at least_ close to equal rights for women.
The "Five" I gave this book is for content. For style, perhaps a "four" -- it is highly, really compulsively readable, but a bit loosely organized and unpolished in spots.