9781401359256 / 1401359256

My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story





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About the book:

My Forbidden Face frames a fragment of Afghanistan's bloody history through the eyes of its author, Latifa. Now 22, Latifa was 16 when the Taliban seized power in 1996. Overnight, Afghani women were stripped of their aspirations, their pleasures and their freedom. She describes the sudden change that transformed her home into her prison and her clothes into symbols of shame in evocative yet matter-of-fact tones. The facts are familiar to us from countless articles and petitions but reading them here in a personal account brings home the state of abject fear Afghani women had to adjust to as the new reality of their lives. Every day Radio Sharia, the Taliban's mouthpiece, would broadcast harsh new decrees to bind the confines of peoples' lives ever tighter. The severest restrictions were reserved for women: they were forbidden to go out unaccompanied by a male relative--which meant poor widows risked beatings and even death, they were forbidden to work or to go to school and even forbidden health care--since that would have meant being treated by a man. From being an educated, outgoing girl who dreamed of becoming a journalist, Latifa was plunged into sickness and depression. But somehow, this timid--and by Western standards--sheltered girl, finds the enormous courage to start running a "school" in her living room--just as her mother, a nurse runs an illicit surgery for women from their home. This combination of naivety and worldliness makes Latifa's voice extremely poignant. My Forbidden Face is a powerful, readable little book you will want to absorb in one gulp. Not only does it give a voice to the nameless sufferings of so many but its bravery and determination are inspiring lessons to us all. --Rebecca Johnson

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