Written by Khaled Hosseini, famous for his best-seller The Kite Runner, this novel will take us back to Afghanistan. Equally as powerful as his previous work, if not more, the story revolved around the touchy topic of the place of women in Afghanistan.We hear about their plight in the mainstream news media, but we do not see them behind the walls of their homes. Another important aspect of A Thousand Splendid Suns is how it recounts the start of the Afghanistan conflict, its civil wars, the Taliban, and the war with US of A.The Afghan refugee crisis has been one of the most severe around the globe stretching for three difficult decades. The war with USA alone is now over a decade. It's not just about Osama bin Laden. War, hunger, anarchy, and oppression forced millions of people to abandon their homes and flee Afghanistan to settle in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. At the height of the exodus, as many as eight million Afghans were living abroad as refugees. Today, more than two million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan.

This is the story of two women, one an illegitimate daughter of a rich merchant forced to live in the outskirts of town because she was supposedly a shame to his father's legitimate family, and one an educated daughter of a teacher who lived in a "modern" way. The two met by chance when circumstances led them to become wives of a man who is self-righteous, violent, and "extremist." I cannot point out everything in this novel that affected me but let me tell some.

One is the Taliban's Rules when it comes to women. These rules were even printed on flyers so every woman will comply.

"Attention women:   

You will stay inside your homes at all times.

It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets.

If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative.

If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home.  

You will not, under any circumstance, show your face.

You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.

Cosmetics are forbidden.  

Jewelry is forbidden.  

You will not wear charming clothes.  

You will not speak unless spoken to.  

You will not make eye contact with men.  

You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten.  

You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger.  

Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately.Women are forbidden from working.  

If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death  

Listen. Listen well. Obey.Allah-u-akbar."

Whoever wrote these rules and implemented them fiercely, I hope a flicker of doubt burst in your mind so that you can question whether what you believe in is correct. Maybe you are one of those who believes without doubt, who thinks that just because you believe in something religious makes them right. Maybe a little doubt is all you need. A little self-check. 

Afghanistan, like the rest of this world is full of those people who argue with each other who has the better belief. One faction wants socialism, another fights for democracy, another screams for an Islamic state. But what has been borne out of this? War. Mass murder. Blood bath. Can we just stop all this bulls#@$ ?


  1. This novel gave me an idea of what it was like to live in the Middle East in the past. With The United States and the Middle East at war, it was good for me to understand another viewpoint. The women in this novel are treated far different than any woman in America. The novel was gripping, and I was unable to put it down for several days.


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