Hussein’s father was relocated to work in Tehran, where Hussein’s passion for Persian literature grew and inspired him to write short stories of his own. In 1973 the Afghan King, Chair Shah was overthrown by his own cousin, Doodad Khan, in a bloodless coup. In 1976, Hussein’s father was again relocated to Paris where Chalked and his family moved. Only two years after Doodad Khan’s reign, he was overthrown by a communist faction, and killed. Hussein’s family, now wary of the Soviet impact in Afghanistan, were granted political asylum in the United States.
Although Hussein struggled with English in his first year of high school, he was greatly inspired by John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath, to continue his passion for writing. Determined to make ends meet for him and his family, after graduating high school in 1984 he enrolled in Santa Clara University to study biology, and later earn a his bachelor’s degree in 1988. Hussein became a practicing internist after he gained his Medical degree at the University of California. Hussein joined the Kaiser Permanent Health Maintenance Organization and settled in Mountain View, California with his fife, Roy, to start a family.
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Throughout Hussein’s medical studies he felt it was his responsibility to tell the world about the country he knew, before it was consumed with war, so he published his first novel The Kite Runner. He told the story of two Afghan boys who’s lives undertake different paths with the events of the war. “The Kite Runner spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, and returned to the list five years after its initial appearance” (Chalked Hussein Biography). In 2003, following the success of his first novel, Hussein returned to
Afghanistan after twenty seven years. Where he felt devastated and shocked the remains of his country. In 2006 he joined the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, from war zones around the world. Since 2003 Hussein had been working on his second novel which focuses on the effect of women during the Soviet Invasion and under the Taliban dictatorship. A Thousand Splendid Suns, like the first novel became an international bestseller, while The Kite Runner became a highly acclaimed motion picture.
Chalked Hussein gave up his medical practice to write and continue his work for the United Nations. Chalked Hussein Biography; ” Chalked Hussein Biography) A Thousand Splendid Suns is divided into four parts. In part one we meet Miriam. Miriam lives with her Nana in a kola and is the illegitimate child of a wealthy cinema owner from Heart. Miriam praised the ground her father, Jail walked on. But when her mother kills herself and she’s sent to live with her father, she realizes that she’s the personification of shame to her him.
Jail marries Miriam off to Rehashed, a shoe make from Kabul who turns out to be an abusive husband. In part two of the novel we meet Leila. She was born on the same day the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Due to the fact that her older brothers are off at war with the Soviets, Laic’s mother is in deep depression. Leila tells about her best friend Atari, who she later falls in love with, and about her days during and after the Soviet Invasion. The day Atari tells Leila that he’s leaving Kabul due to the bombs reigning down on the city, they spontaneously end up having sex.
Then two weeks after Tarsi’s departure, Laic’s family also decides to leave, but a bomb hits her house and kills her parents. In part three Miriam and Rehashed take Leila in and nurse her back to lath. When Leila finds out she is pregnant with Tarsi’s child she decides to marry Rehashed so that he believes the child is his. Miriam and Leila are enemies at first, but Rasher’s abusive behavior manages to bring them together. In an extreme act of self-sacrifice Miriam kills Rehashed in order to save Laic’s life, and turns herself in to the authorities.
In part four Leila runs away with Atari, who comes back after so many years where they manage to make a living in a hotel where they also work at. In order to pay tribute to Miriam, Leila decides to visit Heart where she sees the alba that Miriam and her mother lived in, she reads the letter Maria’s father had left her, and when she finds out that she’s pregnant with her third child, she decides that if it’s a girl she’ll name her Miriam. A Thousand Splendid Suns tells of the relationship of two unlikely women who are brought together by the events taking place in their country. It’s our lot in life, Miriam. Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have” (19). Miriam didn’t heed the words of her mother back then in the kola, but she did learn throughout her life that women in general had to endure the many hardships that life presented. The Soviet Invasion and Taliban regime has had a lasting effect on the women of Afghanistan. They have struggled with the Italian’s political reign in government as well the the “cultural constraints… Petrifaction and religion”(Women in Afghanistan: Pawns in men’s power struggles).
Through the lives of Miriam and Leila one sees the disastrous events that have taken place in Afghanistan as well as the struggle that women have endured to gain independence. One can see where the “notions Of honor and shame… Emphasis female modesty and purity'(Women in Afghanistan: Pawns in men’s power struggles) wrought Maria’s birth. Maria’s mother was cast out of the house she lived in as a servant for having a passing affair with the owner of the house who was wealthy and of high class. Miriam thus considered herself “an illegitimate person who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had… (4). Furthermore, in a poor excuse to rid himself of the shame and dishonor he brought upon his family, Maria’s father marries her off. [He] “didn’t have the [heart] either… To stand up to his family, to his wives and in- laws, and accept responsibility for what he had done”(7). When Leila was rescued from the remains of her house and Rehashed claimed that her living in his house would “look dishonorable”(214) shows that a women’s honor and purity means everything in Afghan society, and to ruin those things means bringing shame upon oneself and one’s family.
That is why Leila agreed to marry him, because she knew that if anyone were to find out she was pregnant and unmarried, she would be thrown out into the streets, and plenty of unimaginable things were to happen it to her then. Sure 4:34 “Men stand superior to women in that God hath preferred the one over the there Those whose perverseness you fear, admonish them and remove them into bed chambers and beat them, but if they submit to you then do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great. ” (CTD. N Legacy of the Prophet) This quote suggest that male relatives have the authority to beat their wives if they disobey them. They are many incidents in A Thousand Splendid Suns where Miriam and Leila are beaten into submission. Miriam is forced to chew on pebbles as a demonstration of how her food tastes to her husband, and is left spitting “out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of ;o broken Lars”(104). The Quern also states that women are to be beaten if they deny their husbands bed; Miriam is threatened to be beaten because Rehashed (her husband) claims that she is influencing Leila to not sleep with him.
Miriam and Leila were tortured after they tried to escape Rasher’s home by being locked in separate rooms, where they went without water and food for days. Leila is severely beaten, almost to the point of death, when Rehashed finds out that she allowed Atari into his home and allowed him to see her without a Burma. Male relatives in Afghanistan also have a right to honor lining, if a women is not a virgin on her wedding night her male relatives have the right to kill her in order to avenge the family honor.
If a wife is accused of adultery she is stoned to death, and if a woman is caught with a man who is not a relative, she is given a hundred lashes and a year in prison (Islam and Women’s Rights). Men are not greatly punished for the same “crime” that women commit since many of them can have multiple wives and concubines. This shows the injustice between men and women in Afghanistan and how tradition and religion is used to control their everyday lives. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1 978 gave woman a better sense of independence.
This new governmental reform encouraged woman to a better education, teach in schools, work in hospitals, and permitted them to not wear a Burma. This reform also included the prohibition of forced marriages and also raised the marriage age to sixteen. “Women have always had it hard in this country… But they’re probably more free now, under the communist, and have more rights than they’ve ever had According to the Commission on the Status of Women one must fight against the use of tradition in order to eliminate the discrimination of women (Women in Afghanistan).
But such reforms were not taken lightly and were deemed UN- Islamic, and thrust Afghanistan into a civil war between Soviet troops and the Unexamined. “Of course, women’s freedom is also one of the reasons people out there took up arms in the first place’ (135) The next ten years resulted in millions of Afghans leaving the county due to the fighting in many rural areas where men, women, and children became targets of the war at their doorstep. After the Soviet retreat in 1989, the Unexamined were in a political power struggle that resulted in mass hysteria and the rise Of the Taliban.
Before the Soviet Invasion and Taliban regime, men and women were declared equal through God. They were given the right to vote, choose their own partners, and a right to an inheritance. But under the Taliban all of these rights were taken away, and many of their laws favored men over women (The Plight of the Afghan Woman). “Attention Women: You will stay in your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home… Girls are forbidden from attending school.
All schools for girls will be closed immediately. Women are forbidden from working. If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death”(278) Although female health professionals were still given the liberty to work under strict rules, they had harsh waking conditions. Many hospitals weren’t provided with the necessary tools in order to work on patients. “They had no clean water,… No oxygen, no medication, no electricity'(286). Women were segregated from men in every aspects of life, but wouldn’t it be fair to provide hem with the necessities they needed in order for survival?
Not only did these hospitals not have the equipment needed, they were probably too far to travel to if someone was at risk of dieing. It is because of these reason’s that Afghanistan has the “second highest infant mortality rate as well maternal mortality rate in the world”(Afghanistan: Mortality Rates Remain High For Mothers, Newborns). The Italian’s interpretation Of Islamic law has reduced women to poverty, worsened their health, and deprived them to an education. Even though they have taken away basic individual rights, the Italian’s laws against women were particularly inhumane. Miriam] remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. “As a reminder of how women like us suffer… How quietly we endure all that falls upon us” (91). The women of Afghanistan have endured a lot in these past 33 years. They have struggled between life and death, poverty, and hopelessness. Through the connection of two unlikely friends one learns of the hopes and despairs people face in times of war and dictatorship.