The voices and experiences of women in Afghanistan have been largely silenced, hidden behind locked doors and black fabrics and shadows. The sorrow and horror within the words and stories of this book need to be witnessed by the privileged, by me, or else I forget that my sisters are living lives beyond comprehension in a place I never have to see, or else I participate in the silencing of women.
Laila and Mariam, the two main characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns, are both married to the same man, both cherish the same child, and both live in Kabul where the Taliban rule, where they are stripped of identity and humanity except in the presence of each other. To witness these fictional women placed in an environment so far from my reality is to imagine what Afghani women experience. It is to spread awareness of what oppression is and how it is spread and how it is broken.
This is a book about strength and weakness, oppression and freedom, love and hate, friendship and control. It is about suffering and healing, sacrifice and abuse. Oh, how do we help women whose lives have been ripped from them by cruelty, stupidity, and violence when they are so far away?