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Man's Inhumanity to Man

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Valerie Ivanova

on 30 January 2015

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Transcript of Man's Inhumanity to Man

Inhumanity done to one person
Mariam is verbally abused by her mother when she is a child.
In the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, one of the prevalent themes is Man's Inhumanity To Man. The novel tells the stories of two Afghan women named Mariam and Laila, who's fates become intertwined when they marry the same abusive man, and yet above all circumstances form an eternal bond with one another. The subplots within the story respectively are the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviets, Afghanistan's civil war and the Taliban tyranny that took over soon after.
The Inhumanity of the wars
The Inhumanity of Afghan Society
The Taliban enforces oppresses the Afghan women
Al-Anfal Genocide
Rasheed abuses Mariam in their marriage.
On the related topic of man's inhumanity to man, one of the most infamous genocides of human history was the Al-Anfal Genocide.
The Kurds are an ancient Iranian ethnicity spread out across several nations in the Middle East. It is estimated that around twenty percent of Iraq’s population is Kurdish, with most settlements in the northern part of the country (Atrocious Genocides).
The conflict occurred between The Kurds and The Iraqi government, during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime perpetrated the al-Anfal Campaign (Atrocious Genocides). The campaign was led by Ali Hassan al-Majid, the Defense Minister of Iraq, who used mustard gas, sarin, nerve gas and other chemicals to kill more than 180,000 Kurdish people, with several thousand unaccounted for. Ali was captured by the American military and executed in 2010 for war crimes including his role in the Kurdish genocide.
Discussion Questions
1) What do you believe can be done in Afghanistan today to end the abusive that women face in their daily lives?
2) Why do you believe women are treating inferior to men, by the Taliban and the government, who are devout Muslims, even though the Quran, the religious text of Islam states that man must treat all equally?
3)If you lived next door to Rasheed, and you heard the abuse that was going on in his home, would you intervene? If yes, what would you do?
What is the Author trying to say?
The author, Khaled Hosseini displays the inhumanity that occurs in Afghanistan today through his characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns. People with power prey on the weak to make themselves feel in control and more powerful. There is inhumanity shown through war: Pashtuns, Hazaras and the Soviets all kill indiscriminately just so they can gain power over the Afghan people.There is also inhumanity shown in Afghan society and culture, and how it treats women. Finally, there i inhumanity shown in the treatment of Mariam by Rasheed and her mother.
A Thousand Splendid Suns Seminar:
Man's Inhumanity to Man
By: Valerie Ivanova

In Khaled Hosseini's
A Thousand Splendid Suns
, a great deal of inhumanity to man is shown, by those in power, and it is illustrated that those in power will always prey on the weak.

that the nature of mankind is inevitably
power hungry, and it is what fuels man's inhumanity.
There is great conflict between different ethnic groups, the Pashtuns and the Hazaras, who perform inhumane acts on each other's people
In Afghanistan under the Taliban rule, women are denied basic rights such as education, healthcare, and are forced to be accompanied by a male relative whenever they exit the house. "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" (278).The Taliban also heavily favors men over women in society, and women are treated as second-class citizens who cannot have any personal freedom, or any say in society. This oppression easily transcends into Afghan households, where the men think it is normal to abuse their wives and have full totalitarian power over them. When Laila's daughter Aziza is put in an orphanage after the family can't support her, Laila does everything in her power to see her. Whenever she is caught on the street by the the Taliban, she is treated very inhumanely: "A young Talib beat Laila with a radio antenna. When he was done, he gave a final whack to the back of her neck and said, "I see you again, I'll beat you until your mother's milk leaks out of your bones" (321). Under the Taliban's strict rule, they commit many inhumane acts against women, degrading them to inferior human beings. By keeping women weak and powerless, The Taliban can hold power over them and make sure women never uprise against them.
Following the Soviet defeat, peace in Afghanistan is short-lived. The different factions of the Mujahideen start fighting amongst themselves as they're unable to come to a consensus on how to run the nation. A civil war breaks out, between the "Pashtun forces of the warlord Sayyaf and the Hazaras of the Wahdat faction" (176) resulting in Kabul being showered with rockets, and many innocent people dying. The Pashtuns and Hazaras are relentless and kill Afghans in many inhumane and brutal ways, all because they are not a part of the same ethnic group. "Pashtun militiamen were attacking Hazara households, breaking in and shooting entire families, execution style, and that Hazaras were retaliating by abducting Pashtun civilians, raping Pashtun girls, shelling Pashtun neighborhoods and killing indiscriminately" (176). The fact that the Mujahideen kill indiscriminately is a sign of the great inhumanity that they show to others. Due to their powerful political positions and available resources, they choose to use their power to hurt innocent people all for the utilitarian purpose of battle strategy.
Difference between Afghani ethnic groups: Pashtuns versus Hazaras
The soviets' war on Afghans
Due to the pressure from the Muhajideen opposition, Afghanistan struggled to maintain control over their communist government, and The USSR steps in. After the prominent communist Mir Akbar Khyber was murdered, all fingers pointed to Daoud Khan's government, ensuing a fierce battle, and eventually defeating Dauod's loyalist forces. What followed was The Soviets hurting anyone who was linked with the jihad against the Soviets: "The communists began the summary executions of those connected with Daoud Khan's regime, when rumors began floating about Kabul of eyes gouged and genitals electrocuted" (101). The Soviets hurt and tortured their Afghan opposition, just so they could maintain their doctrine of communism in Afghanistan. They committed inhumane acts on not only their Muhajideen opposition, but also on many innocent civilians, such as killing of Noor and Ahmed, (Laila's brothers), when they fought in the jihad. This was all to hold power in Afghanistan, and make communism superior.
Afghan culture also oppresses women, making them have no personal freedoms.
For a woman in the Afghan culture, they are trained from a young age to be the perfect maid and cook for her future husband.Education for girls was considered worthless, because it was improper for a woman to go out to work when her duty lies at home with her children. When Afghan girls are at the right age to wed, their families quickly arrange their marriages, often to mature men, and the family disregards whether the daughter wants to get married or not. This was the case for Mariam, and at 15, her wealthy father Jalil arranges her to marry a much older man Rasheed, who lives in Kabul, a long distance from Mariam's hometown Herat. Mariam is miserable in her forced marriage and wonders "how so many women could suffer the same miserable luck, to have married, all of them, such dreadful men.Or was this a wifely game that she did not know about, a daily ritual, like soaking rice or making dough? Would they expect her soon to join in" (66)? Secondly, through the treatment of Mariam in her trail it is shown that Afghan men in power do not treat women equally. During her trial, a Talib says :“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" (365). This shows that they consider women inferior to men, so much so that even when their lives on the line, they will take the man's side because women can not be trusted. The expectations that Afghan culture and society imposes on women and how they treat them is dismal. Although even the Quran speaks of how men should never take women against their will, they are still forced into marriages, and also treated unequally compared to men. Culture and society treat women very inhumanely, and controlling their futures makes fathers and suitors feel powerful.
An arranged marriage between a forty year old man and an eleven year old girl
The abuse that Mariam suffers at the hands of her mother is what sets the tone for the rest of her adult life. Mariam is verbally abused by Nana, and is called worthless, disgraceful and a
, which takes a great toll on her psych. Mariam is an illegitimate child of Jalil and Nana, and Nana makes it known to her everyday how much she's ruined her life. Due to the mistreatment she suffered from her mother and the indifference from her father, Mariam does not feel loved and constantly thinks she is not good enough for most of her life. When Mariam leaves Nana in search of her father, Nana attacks her: "Of all the daughters i could have had, why did God give me an ungrateful one like you! How dare you abandon me like this, you treachorous little
!" (27) The way that Nana treats Mariam is a prime example of one person's inhumanity to another. Nana projects the anger that she has at Jalil and the outcome of her life onto Mariam, who is a young and helpless child. Nana does this because she is in a position of power.
Rasheed expects a lot from Mariam, such as wearing a burqa against her will, strictly obeying him, and playing the role of the housemouse in their household. All Mariam gets in return is having to endure long years of suffering under his roof from his verbal and physical abuse. After learning that Mariam is not able to bear children, Rasheed lashes out at her for miniscule things, and takes it as a reason to horribly abuse her. One such instance was when Rasheed was unsatisfied with the sogginess of his rice: "His powerful hands clasped her jaw. He shoved two fingers into her mouth and pried it open, then forced the cold, hard pebbles into it . . . Mariam chewed. Something in the back of her mouth cracked." (104) Rasheed's Pashtun values make it clear that he considered himself to be the tyrant of the house simply because he is male, and he believes that he controls and owns his wives. He treats them in an inferior way, and shows great inhumanity when it comes to their treatment as human beings. He does all this because he likes to be the one with all the power and the one who gets to control his wives like a cruel puppet master.
Reference: Atrocious Genocides In Human History - Listverse." Listverse. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
Reference: Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York: Riverhead, 2007. Print.
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