Here there is an image that depicts the war of Afghanistan. As I said earlier I would not advise visiting Afghanistan because it is a war zone. At the end of my book American forces entered Kabul in 2001 after Al-Qaeda attacks. This image shows an American solider in Afghanistan and really does a good job of showing how close these wars are to the people that live in the country. He has machinery that could easily kill the boy, but that doesn't stop the boy because he has most likely already experienced a lifetime of fear in his early years. Hence he greets the solider happily.
My book A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place in both Herat and Kabul. On this map you can see that Herat is located on the left side of Afghanistan, which is quite close to the Iran border. On the right side of the map we see Kabul nearly bordering Pakistan. At the time my book is written Kabul is in a terrible position being controlled by Taliban forces. Though currently if you wanted to visit Afghanistan the safest places to visit would be both Herat and Kabul, though I would still not advise visiting there at all because it is considered a war zone.
This Global Issues in Context article “Afghanistan's education dilemma; Afghanistan: An educational dilemma” from the Global Agenda magazine talks about Afghanistan and its completely disrupted education system. I approve The article says that, many years of war and political repression led to the destruction of the country's national education system. A majority of the people born in 1980 has had no formal schooling at all, and all girls were banned after the Taliban regime seized power in 1994-1995. Now days the Afghan government is trying to restore the education system in its country but seems to run into a paradox. “Stability and economic growth cannot be achieved without at least some restoration of education but achieving that, in turn, requires stability--and money” something the country doesn't have (Afghanistan's education dilemma; Afghanistan: An educational dilemma). The article continues on talking about how it doesn't have enough teachers, how it has a very low literacy rate in adults, and how the education of women is very important. Economic and social development in Afghanistan cannot continue until women stop allowing them to be made lesser and look for equality. It says that there are clear links between the education of girls and the eradication of poverty. That in order to reduce infant and child mortality rates –that are among the worst in the world- equal access to schools is very important. The belief on improving overall nutrition and general health, and spread economic growth, women will need education.
A 2009 documentary by Adam B. Ellick profiled Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl whose school was shut down by the Taliban. Ms. Yousafzai was shot by a gunman on Oct. 9, 2012.
Marco Mateo Chavez's insight:
This New York Times documentary, “Class Dismissed, Malala's Story” talks about the Taliban forces that are invading Pakistan. Hundreds of people have died and many of the political leaders and influential patriots have also fled, leaving much of Pakistan in the hands of the Taliban. The Pakistani army has been having a hard time controlling its own cities and has bowed down to the Taliban is some aspects. Because of all of this the people of Pakistan-all who haven't fled-have to listen to the Taliban's rules and live in fear because of them. Much of the fear has been directed to the women, for instances, women are no longer aloud to go shopping in many of the markets. On January 15, 2009 girls were no longer aloud to go to school to be educated. At the same time if you go against the Taliban's rules you will be beaten or killed. This causes big problems for girls in Pakistan, for it prevents them from being able to amount to much, and also puts a strain on the guys.
A moving story about two women set in Afghanistan. The book's story illustrates both the second class, serf-like treatment of two women a...
Marco Mateo Chavez's insight:
A Thousand Splendid Suns is set in Afghanistan from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. The book is broken into 4 parts. The first part is of the life Mariam, and her early life as she grows up in the 1960’s outside of Herat on the East side of Afghanistan. Mariam deals with the difficulties of being poor, uneducated, and being a harami of a rich successful businessman named Jalil. Mariam’s mother (who hates her own life and is depressed beyond belief) commits suicide. Mariam then tries to go live with her illegitimate father, but he doesn’t want her. So he ends up arranging a marriage for Mariam to a shoemaker named Rasheed in Kabul but who is also 30 years older. The story continues with the unhappiness of 15 year old and her mistreatment of her husband, and also 8 miscarriages. Part 2 then turns the point of view to the life of a girl named Laila who lives down the street from Mariam. Laila is a daughter to wonderful parents and lives a happy life. She is educated and doesn’t follow many of the traditional afghan women laws, for she does not wear a Burqa, and doesn’t believe entirely in the arranged marriage aspect, she also is in love with a boy name Tariq. Things in Kabul are getting tense and the Taliban (whose now in control) begins to get rid of the communistic outlook (which benefitted women) and change is coming. At the end of the part 2 Laila is about to flee Kabul and go to Pakistan, but militia men stationed around Kabul shot a rocket as her family was packing the car and killed everyone except for Laila. Part 3, Laila is saved by Rasheed and Mariam, and then she is told Tariq is dead. She is also pregnant with Tariq’s baby (which if anyone knew would make her a disgrace because they’re not married). She is given an ultimatum. Her being a young teenage girl with no relatives had nowhere to go. Rasheed says she can be fed and sheltered if she marries him and becomes his second wife. Laila accepts (only to save the baby). Laila pretends Rasheed impregnated her. Over time Mariam and Laila start getting along. They try to flee Afghanistan to get away from the terror of the Taliban and from the torture of Rasheed. They’re caught and given back to Rasheed, nearly beaten to death. Tariq’s baby is named Aziza, years later she gives birth to a second child, a boy named Zalmai actual son of Rasheed. Part 4 after everything in Kabul is incredibly terrible and the most dangerous for women, Tariq shows up at her front door. He was not dead. Rasheed finds out and almost kills Laila but instead Mariam kills Rasheed. Mariam takes the death penalty, and Laila and the kids flee to Pakistan with Tariq. Then after the 911 bombings with American forces in Kabul and Afghanistan, Laila decides to go back to Afghan to help orphan children because it is a little bit safer. On her way back to Kabul she decides to go Herat to visit Mullah Faizullah’s home and asks about Mariam. She is given a package from Jalil to Mariam (who are all dead) and in it is an apology letter from Jalil, also a lot of money. Everything is a little too late.
Here is an imagine that depicts something that happened very often in my book A Thousand Splendid Suns. Throughout the storyline that constisted of the Taliban ruling, women were constantly beaten. Laila was beaten for walking the streets without her husband, only because her husband was very selfish and didn't want her to be able to visit her daughter. Yet to the ruthless Taliban a woman alone is a crime and she is wrongfully beaten in public for all to see. This angers me because such constant crimes happen quite often in Afghanistan as pictured above.
Afghanistan Relief Organization (ARO) is a non-political, non-religious, nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization, registered in the United States and in Afghanistan (a requirement of all non governmental organizations working in Afghanistan).
Marco Mateo Chavez's insight:
This website “Afghanistan Relief Organization” is an organization that is a non-political, non-religious, nonprofit humanitarian organization, and it is registered in the United States and Afghanistan. ARO was founded in 1998 and is operated by volunteers. They have distributed food, medicine, hygiene supplies, school supplies and winter relief supplies such as blankets and clothing. They provide an education to over 800 youth and adult students. Their mission statement is as follows, “The Afghanistan Relief Organization helps those who are most vulnerable in times of war—the innocent: women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. Our efforts are simple: we find out from the Afghan people what is most needed, we collect those relief supplies and donations, and we deliver this aid directly into their hands” (ARO). One other thing the organization does is provides and funds employees at TEC (Technology Education Center). The organization TEC is located in the Kabul in the University neighborhood, and has classes in English, job-skill training, vocational, and computer education. The classes are in a two-story building, which was donated for ARO's use. The TEC is in a really large building which is about 4000 square feet. The building consists of an interior courtyard, and can hold four large classrooms for children, adults, both female and male.
The Taliban have disappeared from Kabul's streets, but the long shadows of their brutal regime remain. In his short life eleven-year-old ...
Marco Mateo Chavez's insight:
This book "Born Under a Million Shadows" seems like it would be a book that I would really enjoy reading because it also takes place in Afghan region. It takes place during the period that American forces take back major cities like Kabul from the Taliban, which would be right where A Thousand Splendid Suns leaves off. It shows a different angle on the problems that I have already read about going on in Kabul, Afghanistan. This seems like it would be a great book for me to read next.
This Global Issues in Context article “Taliban” from the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences talks all about the Taliban. The Taliban originated from Kandahar where they had a base which is in southwestern Afghanistan around 1989. It wasn't until 1994 that the Taliban overthrew Kandahar and took control of the city. The fall of the city gave the Taliban thousands of Afghan refugees which in turn amounted to the growth of its army. By 1996 military successes of the Taliban launched a big advance that ended up leading to the capture of the Afghan capital, Kabul. From 1996-2001 The Taliban controlled some 90 percent of Afghanistan. They had set out to create a “pure islamic regime” by reintroducing a Muslim culture that now cost them their own human freedoms. Things such as television, Internet, music, and taking photographs were banished. There were many new methods of punishment, which included amputation to thieves, and being stoned to death if you were a woman convicted of adultery. All theses methods, which are considered insane to us Americans, were common to the Taliban. The Taliban made huge movements in uniting Afghanistan but in the end was unable to end the civil war occurring. The strongest enemy to the Taliban was the Northern Alliance, they had controlled primarily all of the northeast region of Afghanistan. This group was being supported by the U.S.-led coalition that took the power away from the Taliban in 2001.
This New York Times article "Behind the burka: Women subtly fought Taliban" talks specifically about the effect of the Taliban on women. The Taliban had removed many rights from women, specifically allowing them to have jobs and from girls getting an education. This article speaks of a women who went against the Taliban and in secrecy and educated children. Although the Taliban had taken away just about all human rights from women they continued to lash against the Taliban. If they were confined to their homes, many would teacher their daughters to read. They started secret schools or secured small concessions in order to fulfill themselves with happiness and educate young ones. Mrs. Helal had a class size of about 120 in Herat, mostly girls, where she not only educated children about the world, but also taught them how to avoid the Taliban and protect themselves. It tells us that her action were punishable by death. When the Taliban was in control she had to were a burqa when in public. Through being in public was dangerous and not accepted if one was not being accompanied by a male. Mrs. Helal was widowed and being in public and doing a regular grocery run accounted for a beating.
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