I just finished reading The Bookseller of Kabul by Anne Seierstad. It is the story of a Norwegian journalist who was in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban and, through a chance encounter, ended up living with an Afghani family for three months. All I can say is, Wow. This book makes me grateful that I was born in America. Their society and customs are unbelievable. The very basic freedoms that women do not have are unfathomable to me. I can't even begin to express my feelings - I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I do not know that even if we (the U.S.) were successful in our efforts in the Middle East, that the women there would have any change in their difficult lives. Before the Taliban it was better, but after the Taliban there is only fear. The religious and moral taboos are so strict and, in some cases, ridiculous, that I don't see how it could ever be better for women there. To not have a voice in your own future. To not have hopes or dreams. It's a sad life for them. A very sad life indeed.
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