It was past 1:30 am and I was crying silent tears. I had just finished reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. Wow! What a story! The main story evolves around two women, from very different backgrounds, in Afghanistan – how their lives got entangled together in a loveless marriage with a brutal, physically violent husband. At first, I thought it was a bit slow-paced and somewhat predictable. Then I got to a point where I couldn’t put it down. I made Tanveer mad because I had the bedside lamp on and he couldn’t sleep. But I had to finish the book last night.
I knew what happened in Afghanistan under Taliban regime and before that under the Soviet invasion for the past 30/40 years. Reading about it all over again, now with two endearing protagonists in the picture, I was trying to put myself in their shoes. I can never imagine not going to work. Specially, if me not going to work meant my kids would have to go without food, what would have I done? What would I have done if I were told that there is no place for me in the hospital and I am about to give birth? What would I have done if I was told I couldn’t go out by myself? That I have to wear Burkha all the time? That I could be beaten for no apparent reason? That my daughter can not go to school? That I cannot watch TV/movie/play? That all books are “haaram” except the Quran? Scary, huh? And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. My heart went out once again to all the women out there. Not just in Afghanistan, but all over the world. Afghanistan, Sudan, Bangladesh, US – doesn’t matter where. There are women out there, living in fear, living under oppression, even at this time and age. I need to do something.
I remember seeing an episode of Oprah where she went to see some women being treated in a clinic in South Africa. A lady from US was so moved by the story that she decided to do something for the women. She didn’t have a lot of money, so she started making bracelets for the women with her daughter using simple, colorful beads. Next time when Oprah went back, she took the bracelets with her. You should have seen the smiles on everyone’s faces. No one probably ever stood up for them, let alone gave them anything nice. This small bracelet made them soooo happy. I kept thinking about it before falling asleep. I need to find out something I can do, even if it something as simple as making bead bracelets. My friend Katie is involved with an organization called "Nari Jibon". I need to give her a call.
I am proud to be a woman and thankful for the life I have.