Saturday, 20 March 2010

My Thoughts: Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes to Weep by Siba Shakib

It has been a couple of years since I have read anything about Afghanistan, for a while it seemed you couldn't move for books about Afghanistan and Iraq, this one I read as it will help my tick off another country for my Olympic Challenge, (which I'm failing miserably at).

This is a non-fiction account written, by a journalist, of the life of Shirin-Gol. From just three years old the life of other people are put into Shirin-Gol's hands for her to look after. She starts off as a todler looking after, feeding and caring for her twin brothers. When Russia invade the country she is sent to school where she gains a passion for learning which stays with her her whole life.
Married off at a young age to a soldier husband she falls pregnant within days, he leaves to go back to the war, whilst she stays and raises their children whilst still gaining her education just days after their birth.
When trouble starts in Kabal, Shirin-Gol and her family are forced to flee. First she goes to the Pakistaini border, where she is forced into prostitution to feed her kids and tend to her sick husband. From then on she travels with the family from village, to towns, to other countries and back. She faces sickness, poverty and her husbands drug addiction face on. She is an independent woman who is determined that her children and other women should not live the life that she has been forced to, she educates and looks after others on her journey.
This book worringly wasn't all that shocking, firstly because I've read many other books about women lives in other coutries, but also because it felt like a novel, I had to keep reminding myself that this was non-fiction. The book shows a great example of women, in coutries in which we assume they have no power, taking power and leadership into their own hands to fight for a better future.

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