Sometimes when we are fighting a war in another country (which unfortunately we’ve been doing for years now), we forget that some people in that country AREN’T our enemies. We hear the news about roadside bombs in foreign lands, and it feels foreign, hostile, and remote. Of course we support our troops, but it’s hard to empathize with soldiers if you’re never been to war, and even harder to see things from the point of view of citizens whose cities and towns have become war zones.
Although more than 12 million people have bought THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini since 2003, I feel compelled to include it in this blog to ensure that no one will miss it. While it tells a very specific story about fathers and sons and how guilt can eat us alive, this novel also shows what life was like for people in Afghanistan from the mid-1970s through 2001. As it describes the childhood experiences of several boys, it reveals the religious and class divisions within the country, the impact of the Russian invasion, and the devastating rise of the Taliban, who terrorized their fellow citizens (and, among other things, banned kite-flying). By illustrating the cruelty of the Taliban against their own people, the book shines a light on our true enemies and provides important context for understanding what the other Afghan people have endured.
Bottom line: if you haven’t read it yet, you should. In these challenging times, we need to understand as much as we can.