Dear Zari: The Secret Lives of the Women of Afghanistan by Zarghuna Kargar

Review:

By Zarghuna Kargar Dear Zari: Hidden Stories from Women in Afghanistan [Paperback] - Zarghuna Kargar Kargar shares some fascination and mostly heartbreaking stories that she had collected while producing The Afghan Women’s Hour on BBC for five years. I’d had this book on my to read list for a while and even put it on both my Litsy A to Z (Letter D) and Read Harder (Task 24: Read a book wherein all point of view characters all people of color) lists. 

Each chapter has the story of the woman featured and how her story relates to or represents Afghan women in general. Kargar seemed to take great care to make sure that many sides of Afghan women were featured. There were the child brides and war widows that we’re accustomed to hearing about in the US, but also entrepreneurs and more. Many of the stories do involve domestic violence, sometimes from a spouse and sometimes from a sibling, but this isn’t the only problem that Afghan women face. Like women from every country, there are many issues that they must deal with and not all are negative and not all are simply cultural. I enjoyed the way Kargar makes the distinction between religious, legal, and tribal practices. Some of the situations that these women contend with are some combination of those three and some just don’t fit the category we assume it does.

I also really enjoyed hearing about the way Afghan Women’s Hour was received by Afghan women and men. I’m always amazed by the effect that sharing stories has, even when they aren’t happy stories. Or maybe especially when they aren’t.

I found this book on Scribd, but it’s also available at other outlets, click on the cover pic for worldwide options.

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