Born in Afghanistan and an immigrant to America in the 1980s, the author traces Afghanistan’s recent history from the 1979 Soviet invasion through to the present day, which is a stark contrast to her own life in America. The catastrophic toll that years of Soviet rule, Mujihadeen, civil war and the Taliban have had on the nation’s ability to care for its people, let alone defend itself from outside influences are sobering reading.
Through her organisation, Help The Afghan Children, Sadeed shows fierce determination, placing herself at great personal risk in her mission to bring aid to war-torn Afghanistan under both Mujihadeen and Taliban rulers. From her first visit, her goal is to build schools, particularly for women, but initially conditions are so dire that far more basic aid is needed and it is only latterly that her dream of opening schools and clinics are realised.
Unlike other books chronicling aid to Afghanistan, Forbidden lessons in a Kabul guesthouse is written from the perspective of an Afghan woman. The author’s views on how the international community can best help Afghanistan and on the treatment and status of women certainly will make you think about another agenda and what the real priorities are. A recommended read.
Forbidden lessons in a Kabul guesthouse : the true story of a woman who risked everything to bring hope to Afghanistan, by Suraya Sadeed with Damien Lewis, 2011