Review by Theresa Wolfwood
This is the very personal and very political story of the woman who is called the “bravest woman in Afghanistan.” When her family returned to Pakistan from a refugee camp, she was a clandestine teacher, teaching in homes and basements, hiding her books under a burka.
She was committed from a young age to working for her people. She set up clinics, social services and orphanage which finally closed for the lack of funds, but she still helps and stays in touch with these war orphans.
Her description of courtship customs, her marriage at the late age of 26 to the man she chooses herself and the wedding are vivid and funny; but her husband must conceal his relationship to her for his own safety.
She is an elected Member of Parliament, unable to take her seat because she was expelled for speaking the truth about the criminals in the government which Canada & NATO support. She leaves the country secretly to travel and to speak publicly about the tragedy of her country. Constant death threats force her to wear a burka and to move constantly. She rarely sleeps in the same bed two nights running. Still she retains love, a sense of humour, good spirits and hope.
It is really important that we read this book; we are at war with this woman’s country, yet we know little about it. This book gives us a rare insight into the daily life and the culture of Afghanistan.
She will not stop speaking out. She does not want to die but believes her cause would continue even if she is killed. We risk little by speaking out; where are our voices?
“But if I should die, and you choose to carry on my work you are welcome to visit my grave. Pour some water on it and shout three times. I want to hear your voice.” The last words in her memoir.