Simply Splendid

I have been in my new job as a research nurse for 4 weeks now and one of the joys of this new venture is the bus journey to and from work. No I am not going completely mad and I’m not usually a lover of public transport. But it has given me the opportunity to read a lot more, I have always been a prolific reader but mainly in bed or in the bath.

I have just finished reading the most amazing book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. This is a story about 2 women in Afghanistan that is so beautifully written it had me crying on the bus, it also invoked feelings of disgust, loathing and anger. But mostly it made me feel extremely lucky for growing up and living in a country where I am free. Free to do what I want to do, to be independent and valued.

Here is a part of the book I would like to share, these are the rules imposed on women in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over power, as written by them;

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 Mahram, a male relative. If you are caught on the streets alone you will be beaten and sent home.

You will not under any circumstances show your face, you will cover with a burqua when outside, if you do not you will be severely beaten.

Cosmetics and jewellery are 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 finger nails, if you do you will lose a finger.

Girls are forbidden from attending school, all schools for girls will be closed.

Women are forbidden from working.

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

The book is heartbreaking as the story of the 2 women’s plight against cruelty, injustice and hardship unfolds in a country desperately trying to make it through relentless adversary.

The author has now set up the Khaled Hosseini Foundation that does fantastic work supporting Afghan nationals returning to to their homeland after fleeing during all the troubles, also re building homes in war torn areas and to help women and children.