Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg *****

Taliban. Women. Pakistan. Malala. Afghanistan. Fantasy.

As with any complex issue, the story is more complex then presented by the media and fund raisers. The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg goes so much deeper with a minimum of violence and maximum of hope, hope based on parents, the girls themselves, and not foreign intervention. This might be both the most realistic and optimistic book on women's rights in the middle east, ever.

Jenny Nordberg puts a human face on patriarchy and the women trapped within it. She finds reasons to hope and reasons to believe that progress will occur, without ignoring the violence against women so rampant in this culture and society.

Bacha Posh: Dressed up as a boy

In this culture boys are honored and girls are subjugated. Any male is superior to any female. A women without a son dishonors herself and her family. A family without a son is at real risk, but on a more practical level, sons, as young a 6-8, can work in the family business, earn money, run errands, escort his sisters, whereas daughter can not leave the house unescorted.

For these reasons, and others elucidated in the book, a family with a shortage of sons, might dress their daughters as boys and present them to the world as boys. They might also do this for more subversive reasons, such as education and consciousness raising.

This book follows the lives of a handful of Bacha Posh. A most fascinating, instructive, and hopeful read. The most optimistic book about the middle east published since Europe exited the dark ages aided by the science saved in the Middle East.

Taliban. Women. Pakistan. Malala. Afghanistan. Fantasy. If you care, this is the book to read.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on July 18, 2014. I received my copy on August 1, 2014. 

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