a thousand splendid suns

Before the war began in Afghanistan, women lived fairly normal lives. They could go shopping, meet friends for coffee, wear makeup, wear western style clothes, drive cars, work, study at university. When the war began their lives became much harder due to the obvious hardship of war. When the Taliban rolled into Kabul, things really went to hell. They drove around the city with a loudspeaker letting everyone know the way it was going to be from then on. They had flyers printed up and delivered everywhere. Heres a bit of what they said:

Attention Women of Afghanistan

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 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

Jewellry 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 close immediately.

Women are forbidden from working.

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

Listen. Listen well. Obey.


A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini

Enjoyed this much better than The Kite Runner.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend


23 thoughts on “a thousand splendid suns

  1. We forget how lucky we are sometimes, I know I am very guilty of it, to remove someones rights in such a away is horrendous.These Women are true hero's of the war, they face this every day and can still maintain their families, the strength they have is amazing.

  2. the taliban had to go – but between the russians, the warlords who fought over the country after them, the taliban and now the americans, you can't imagine how things are much better.

  3. no – hard to imagine it. I think a lot of people (I know I have a friend who thinks this way) think that life was always like that in afghanistan – and iraq as well. They don't realise people lived lives much the same as we do. My friend sort of imagines them running around the desert in a burka living a mud huts.

  4. and there'd be no photo taking (although there'd be an adbundance of sights to capture). Other rules – for the whole population – were that painting pictures and watching films was forbidden.

  5. Imagine having a finger cut off for wearing nail polish!! I watched a show on tv recently and there were groups of women, who risked their lives, to meet at each others houses and do their hair and nails and god forbid, have a laugh.. Some of them were even Taliban wives. So they tried to keep the spirit alive – but at great risk.

  6. They are definitely things we wouldn't give a second thought to doing. Dancing and singing was forbidden as well. And kite flying. Because that is obviously a very rebellious thing to do.

  7. and it wouldn't have been a whole lot of fun for the guys either. No playing cards, chess, gambling. Or, owning parakeets. If you tried to keep parakeets you'd be beaten and your birds killed. I mean it'd almost be funny if it wasn't so appalling. Oh, I just remembered – this guy had painted some flamingos and the taliban had a fit because they were indecent – all that bare pink skin. So he had to paint trousers on them. How can you ever get inside minds like that.

  8. well worker, I hate to say it but you'd probably just be taken to the stadium and shot straight away. Or stoned to death maybe. I think they would have a lot of "issues" with you!!!

  9. Im a little confused by this, according to what i understood the taliban government was overthrown in 2001 and replaced with a UN appointed government. So why isnt the UN doing anything about this? Also there is woman in government positions now also so why are they not doing anything about it?Woman in Afghanistan

  10. sorry – got cut off! I'd say it's still a terrible existence over there and from what I read the taliban are still around, building strength and fighting in areas of afghanistan. People don't feel secure enough yet to return to a normal lifestyle. The emphasis was taken away from afghanistan when the war in iraq began. I have no faith in the UN.

  11. I can agree with no faith in the UN, very few people do have any faith in it anymore. Changes take time though, at least things are getting better and from what ive read around the net the woman in Afghanistan are starting to fight back in different ways. Sometimes it amazes me and horrifies me at the countries that still treat woman in such ways, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia just to name a few.

  12. And don't forget the women who are doused in acid and horribly scarred and killed on the subcontinent because someone doesn't like them or whatever. India and asia can by bloody horrible as well. .

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