Monday, 18 May 2009

1001 Splendid Suns

I was listening to the BBC World Service early the other morning on my way to my Friday psychotherapy clinic in Benijofar. I heard the latter part of a report from Afghanistan about a school where a girl was in class, learning to play a musical instrument, along with a boy, a fellow student. Nothing very surprising about this you might think, but this is where our poor knowledge of cultural difference and history is exposed.

The report took me back to reading an amazing, if sometimes depressing, but ultimately uplifting book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. It documented the story of 2 women where, over a generation and under successive regimes, the rights of females to exist as independent people were gradually eroded. The point was reached where under a male dominated society they became the property of their families and husbands, to be beaten and even murdered if they "misbehaved". They were forbidden to be on the street without a man with them, and certainly not allowed, as girls, to receive any education whatsoever. Medical treatment was segregated by sex with women being directed to poorly equipped hospitals, often with little medication and no anaesthetic for operations.

Of course the book is technically a work of fiction, but based very much on Afghan history from the 1970`s until recent times and it documents the unbelievably harsh reality of life for so many. The sound of this young girl playing her instrument on the radio was uplifting on another sunny day here on the Costa Blanca. I thought that maybe the sun is shining again in Afghanistan.

1 comment:

  1. That sure is a reminder of social/polital/religious differences --and the book you mention sounds like I shal look for it to ead myself. I read the earlier of his.xx tp