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Kite Runner

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Since the beginning of time, women have had to fight rigorously for basic human rights. In the western stratosphere, those human rights were achieved in the early 20th century, but in a lot of eastern countries the battle for the women is just beginning, or worse hasn't even started. Women in Afghanistan have been subject to heinous circumstances, even though their religion, Islam "demanded that men and women be equal before God,"(Qazi). Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner offers a very insightful view of the governing politics of Afghanistan pre-Taliban regime and during the Taliban regime, and the differing situation of women in both those eras. Based on the book and outside research, it is evident that the situation of women in Afghanistan has decreased with time, due to cultural beliefs, as well as the Taliban regime.

Women in Afghanistan weren't always suppressed by the government. Amir, the narrator of The Kite Runner, talks about a time when women were allowed basic rights like jobs, for example, his "mother taught at the university," (250 Hosseini). In one instance in the novel, a beggar man describes to Amir how his mother and him "would sit and talk after class," (249), that may not seem like a big deal, but she was a woman talking to another man who wasn't her husband or father, and under the Taliban that would be under severe penalty. Women also "didn't have to wear burqas out in the public" (Katz), and had complete freedom as to what they wore and how they presented themselves. Sanaubar was a woman who took complete control of this freedom, for she had "brilliant green eyes and an impish face and [...] [walked with a] suggestive stride" (8 Hosseini). Women were also allowed schooling, and the freedom to leave the house as they pleased.

Although Afghani women weren't held back by the government during the regime of the King before the Taliban, cultural issues kept them at bay, as did machismo Honor is a thing that is deeply imbedded in the Afghani culture and it is so important to the Afghani's because it is "all they have," (165 Hosseini). If a woman displayed herself in a sexy manner, as Sanaubar did, she would be considered "dishonorable" (8). If an unwed woman held a conversation with a man, she would be seen as a "lochak" (146), or in other words a brazen girl. The honor of a girl mattered so much because virtuous girls brought in respectable "suitable suitors" (148), and one of the most important things an Afghani girl needed was a husband. This cultural belief gave men an overbearing advantage once they married. The men essentially controlled how their wives lived their lives. The prime example in this case would be General Taheri, who had many opinions on how women should behave. The General forbade his wife to sing in public because he thought it was a job for people with "lesser reputations" (177), he didn't "approve of women drinking alcohol," (183), and was constantly worried about the public perception of his family. Baba, to some extent also represented these views. He talked about losing ones honor in a very somber manner, and believed that a man's honor rested in the "chastity of a wife. Or a daughter." (145)

The bulk of the blame for the tyranny of Afghani women falls on the Taliban. The Taliban was started in "in response to an infamous gang rape that occurred in 1994." (DiManno), and soon the small group turned into a full militia that took control in 1996 to cheers by the Afghani people. It is ironic to note that the Taliban came into power by claiming they had a desire to "end the rape and abuses against women that were common place in the period before the Taliban, and by appealing to the idea that women needed extra protection during the period of fighting." (Taliban Women) Little did the Afghani people know that the Taliban had other plans. Although the Taliban has claimed that their views are derived from "Islamic law," (Muslim Woman's), it is evident that they are directly taken from other "suppressive movements" (Muslim Woman's) in the Middle Eastern region and "such practices are not stipulated within the Qur'an and many rules were made up by the rulers as they went, sometimes with an out of context quote." (Taliban Women) They imposed strict rules upon women, that had to be followed or severe punishments would follow. Women were not allowed to attend schools or get any type of formal education, even though previously female students had gone to schools. (Katz)They weren't allowed to work outside the home, and only a small percentage of female doctors were allowed to keep their jobs, and even then they could



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