Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Forbidden Face by Latifa

My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban by Latifa

Latifa grew up during troubling times in Afghanistan. She was almost finished her degree in journalism when her brother rushed home one day to inform her family that the mosque and school were flying the white flag of the Taliban. Latifa and her family never thought that the Taliban hold would actually come in to their town. Very quickly, life changes. All females are forbidden to travel outside without a male and must do so in a chadri, clothing that entires the entire body and only has mesh to see through. As every day goes by, more restrictions are added, more women are beaten and raped in the street, and more men are taken to jail or killed for petty crimes.

The atrocities and hypocrisy of stories like this always amaze me. The Taliban bans videos and does not allow men and women to be in the same room, yet it is perfectly ok for them to rape women as a form of punishment. How does this make sense? This certainly makes you feel thankful for things you take for granted.

In terms of the writing in the book, I found the narrative to be a bit disjoint. Latifa would be talking about the present time and then all the sudden go back about 5 years for a couple of pages before going back into present time, without much warning or warrant.

After continuous complaint that the world had forgotten about Afghanistan, I wonder what Latifa would say now, in 2009, with troops fighting in Afghanistan. Many Canadians soldiers have died over there, and I can't help but wonder if the locals just see Canadians as another invading force that isn't welcome.

First Line: "Someone knocks violently on our door."



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