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A Thousand Splendid Suns: An Analysis of the Victimization of Afghan Women
Transcript of A Thousand Splendid Suns: An Analysis of the Victimization of Afghan Women
Khaled Hosseini Part I: History of Afghanistan
Part II: About the Author
Part III: Summary of Novel
Part IV: Quotes
Part V: Q & A With Khaled Hosseini
Part VI: Analysis of Readings
Part VII: Our Conclusions Riley Williams Laura Fraser Emily Gilliss Born in Kabul in 1965
His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul.
In 1976 the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris.
They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army.
The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California.
Earned a medical degree in 1993 at University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
Began his first novel while practicing medicene, published "The Kite Runner" in 2003.
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" was published in 2007 and was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks.
In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
He lives in Northern California. -Hosseini is not victimizing women in Afghanistan
-Representing some of their struggles throughout the regimes that have changed Afghanistan
-Not creating a "Third World Difference" only mentions America as an option of where to move
-Pg 150:"Americans we a generous people. They would help them with money and food for awhile, until they could get on their feet"
-Doesn't glorify the US immensly
-Story is very much within Afghanistan
-Only outside glorifications were about the beginning of Soviet communist rule or Pakistan to escape the Taliban
-Doesn't generalize all women, states very clearly that some families are more traditional while others are progressive
-Shows there has been a shift in ideologies and will continue to become more modern.
-Shows that not all men have mysoginst views.
-When reading one has to remember that it is all about perspective. While we might believe that some aspects of Afghan culture are offensive to women's rights, there are plenty of things our culture can be attacked as well, as mentioned by Thobani.
-We must rid ourselves of the "us" verses "them" mentality and understand that our society isn't always better and shouldn't be glorified. Afghanistan
- Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
- Over 30 million people
- Official languages: Pashto and Dari
- Majority of the population is Muslim
- About the same size as Texas in land area Communist Regime
- Lasted 1978-1992
- Was backed by the Soviet Union
- Better freedoms for women
- Better education, healthcare, and standard of living
- “Communist era decrees empowered women” Afghanistan Civil War
- Lasted from 1992-1996
- Soviet involvement ended in 1989- Marked the end of the Communist Government
- Mujahideen forces overthrow Najibullah government
- War and unsettlement for approximately four years between groups who want power in the nation The Taliban
- Islamic fundamentalist religious-political group
- Lasted 1996-2001
- Mohammed Omar has been their spiritual leader since 1994
- Known for their extremist and harsh treatment of women and those who did not follow their rules
- They controlled 85-90% of Afghanistan
- Over 1 million people—civilians and soldiers killed before the Taliban came to power The Taliban: Treatment of Women
- Huge discrimination against women
- Serious violations of human rights
- Used intense physical force to intimidate the female population
- Complete denial of employment, education, freedom of travel, and of good healthcare services Page 221: Mariam is on trial.
"I wonder," the young Talib said. "God has made us differently, you women and us men. Our brains are different. You are not able to think like we can. Western doctors and their science have proven this. This is why we require only one male witness but two female ones." Taliban and Women: Mobility and Employment
- Women were not permitted to leave the house without being without her husband or a mahram
- If women were caught in public without an appropriate chaperone, they would be beaten.
- If they were caught in public past curfew (7:30PM), they would be beaten
- Gender-segregated buses
- Women could not work—All females were pulled from their jobs
- Women were generally advised to stay at home at all times Taliban and Women: Education and Healthcare
- All females older than the age of 8 were prohibited from going to school
- Many women were denied access to proper healthcare and medical services-
Women could only be seen by a male doctor or nurse under the supervision of her husband or her mahram
- Hospitals were virtually the only place where women kept their jobs, and it was very limited
Pg 72: “Because a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated.” –Babi. Taliban and Women: Punishments
- Organized or spontaneous beatings
- Whippings and lashings
- Removal of fingers, hands, and/or feet
- Execution (hanging, gunshot, or stoned)
- Many beatings and lashings would be conducted without proper trial Quotes Q + A With Khaled Hosseini Pg 7:“Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.” Pg 27:“A man’s heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam. It isn’t like a mother’s womb. It won’t bleed, it won’t stretch to make room for you.” Pg 47:
“I’ve seen nine-year old girls given to men twenty years older than your suitor, Mariam. We all have. What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age for a girl.” Pg 77:“There is no shame in this, Mariam,” he said, slurring a little. “It’s what married people do. It’s what the Prophet himself and his wives did. There is no shame.” Pg 104:Made her chew pebbles.“Good, “ Rasheed said. His cheeks were quivering. “Now you know what your rice tastes like. Now you know what you’ve given me in the marriage. Bad food, and nothing else.”Then he was gone, leaving Mariam to spit out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two broken molars. Pg 111:Laila’s teacher:She said women and men were equal in every way and there was no reason women should cover if men didn’t. Pg 253:
Referring to January 1994-
The streets became littered with bodies, glass, and crumpled chunks of metal. There was looting, murder, and, increasingly, rape, which was used to intimidate civilians and reward militiamen. Mariam heard of women who were killing themselves out of fear of being raped, and of men who, in the name of honor, would kill their wives or daughters if they'd been raped by the milita. Pg 266:
"If you send us back," she said instead, slowly, "there is no saying what he will do to us."
She could see the effort it took him to keep his eyes from shifting. "What a man does in his home is his business."
"What about the law, then, Officer Rahman?" Tears of rage stung her eyes. "Will you be there to maintain order?"
"As a matter of policy, we do not interfere with private family matters, hamshira."
"Of course you don't. When it benefits the man. 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 burqua when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.
Cosmetics are 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. Pg 286:
Describes scene of women's hospital.
No clean water, no oxygen, no medications, no electricity.
Had to undergo a cesarean section without any medication. Set in Afghanistan from the early 1960s to the early 2000s
Mariam, 1960s grows up outside Herat.
After her mothers death she is sent to Kabul with Rasheed.
In Kabul, Laila
Rocket hits her home, killing her parents
Rasheed and Mariam take in Laila
Laila marries Rasheed, knows she's pregnant
With the birth of Aziza, the two wives become closer
Laila later gives birth to Zalmai
Tariq returns, Rasheed learns
Rasheed brutally beats her, Mariam kills him with shovel
Mariam turns herself over to the Taliban in order to allow Laila a better life and is executed in an arena
Happy ending with hope after US invasion of Afghanistan. What kind of response do you hope readers have to A Thousand Splendid Suns? - I hope that readers respond to the emotions of this story, that despite vast cultural differences, they identify with Mariam and Laila and their dreams and ordinary hopes and day-to-day struggle to survive.
- As an Afghan, I would like readers to walk away with a sense of empathy for Afghans, and more specifically for Afghan women, on whom the effects of war and extremism have been devastating.
-I hope this novel brings depth, nuance, and emotional subtext to the familiar image of the burqa-clad woman walking down a dusty street. -On the one hand, America is seen as a bastion of hope for Afghanistan.
-The notion of the American troops packing up and leaving strikes fear into the hearts of many Afghans, I believe, as they dread the chaos, anarchy, and extremism that would likely follow.
-There is lingering bitterness, I think, about the way Afghans feel they were abandoned by the West—and America in particular—when the Soviets left, a period that was marked by the factional fighting that destroyed so much of Kabul...
-They feel that the war in Iraq, undertaken so soon after the campaign in Afghanistan, channeled attention, troops, and resources away from Afghanistan.
-Still, I think most Afghans remain hopeful about their country’s partnership with the U.S. One of the men in your novel dreams of coming to America, as your family did. He see America as a kind of golden, generous land. Is that something many Afghans dream still of? The women in your story suffer deeply and personally from being oppressed because of their gender, in their homes and in the broader society. Is this oppression particularly onerous in the Muslim world? What can and should be done about it? -It is undeniable that the treatment of women in some Muslim countries—including my own—has been dismal.
-I want to distance myself from the notion, popular in some circles, that the West can and should exert pressure on these countries to grant women equal rights...
-I believe change needs to come from within, that is, from a Muslim society’s own fabric. In Afghanistan, I think it is essential for its future that those more moderate elements who support women’s rights be empowered.
--I hope that twenty-first-century Islamic leaders can unshackle themselves from antiquated ideas about gender roles and open themselves to a more moderate and progressive approach. References http://khaledhosseini.com/
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Sedef Arat-Koc, “Imperial Wars or Benevolent Interventions? Reflections on “Global Feminism” Post September 11”, Atlantis, vol. 26.2, Spring/Summer 2002. handout
*Sunera Thobani, “War on Women” presentation (8/11/2008) on video at www.youtube.com (Search “Sunera Thobani and war on women”)
*“Journalist Missing the Mission: Sally Armstrong and Afghan Women” by Sobia at http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2009/03/journalist-missing-the-mission-sally-armstrong- and-afghan-women/
*Fatemeh Fakhraie, “Casting Out: Exploring the Racialization of Muslims” at www.racialicious.com/2008/10/02/casting-out-exploring-the-racialization-of-muslims An Analysis of the Victimization of Afghan Women "Imperial Wars or Benevolent Interventions? Global Feminism Post Sept 11th"
Sedef-Art Koc "War on Women"
(World Peace Forum Workshop)
Sunera Thobani "Journalist Missing the Mission: Sally Armstrong and Afghan Women"
Muslim Media Watch "Worst thing feminists can do (from the Western World) is to tell Third World women to abandon their religion, beliefs, etc. and impose their systems in order to attain freedom. By adopting Western beliefs, it will not take you far." "They murder women in public, in front of their children, by shooting them in the face. About 85% of the women are iliterate, a state they equate with blindness. They are still behind kept behind walls, out of schools, kept out of civil life"
-Sally Armstrong "The situation for women in Afghanistan is undoubtedly dire, but it is not black and white as Sally depicts it to be"
-Sobia "Casting Out: Exploring the Racialization of Muslims"
Fatemeh Fakhraie "World depicts/ racializes the world "Muslim" even though it isn't even a race, which can be all sizes and colors from every country in the world." "In the Western World, the word "Muslim" is associated with "terrorism", terrorism is illustrated by brown skinned, South/West Asians."