Monday, 8 October 2007

A thousand splendid suns

I have just finished this wonderful book about Afghanistan which I would recommend anyone reads. The author Khaled Housseni is now goodwill ambassador for Afghanistan in the UN

Khaled Hosseini should not just be a special envoy for the UNHCR but a world spokesperson on the plight of women who are abused and ill treated in their homes. Khaled writes with humility and empathy, fiction that is totally believable, tragic and yet proving there can be hope and redemption. The 2 women Mariam and Laila are the heroines of this story, always dignified despite the horrors of both of their situations - married at 14 or 15 to a middle aged bully in a country going through war, starvation and then controlled by the evil minded Taliban. Khaled even manages to give Rasheed - the dreaded husband a personality that has one or 2 redeeming qualities in that he does so love his son. I wouldn't wish to spoil the story for anyone but urge everyone to read this book for a view on Afghanistan and the reasons why these wicked oppressors should not be allowed to gain a foothold there again. Be prepared to ball your eyes out before the end.
I found the poem by Saib-e-tabrizi from which the title of the book comes:
Kabul Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust
My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees,
I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!
Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan
Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls
Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats
And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures

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