Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: ONLINE REVIEW / BOOK REPORT
The next day, the four of them go out to greet their new world and their new leaders. People are coming out from everywhere and shouting Allah-uakbar or raising signs with the words Zena Baad Taliban! or Long live the Taliban! They see the Taliban up close later that day when Rasheed bullies a path through the crowd to makeshift scaffolding where a young man with a loudspeaker was speaking. In his free hand, he holds a rocket launcher and hanging beside him from traffic light posts are the bodies of Najibullah and his brother. They had dragged the men from the UN Headquarters and tortured them for hours and tied their legs to a truck and dragged their lifeless bodies through the streets. The young Talib harangues the deeds of Najibullah and then tells the crowd, “This is what we do with infidels who commit crimes against Islam.
The next day Kabul is overrun by red Toyota trucks and loudspeakers
set up everywhere proclaiming that Afghanistan is now known as the Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan and then followed by all the new rules that must
be obeyed. And these rules are unbelievably strict for all the citizens
of the country, but especially for women who now are denied the opportunity
to go to school and are forced to stay home. No women will be allowed
to work outside their homes. Laila is aghast that they can keep half the
population at home doing nothing. However, Rasheed just replies to her
comment, “Why not?” he tells her that there are many areas of their country
that she has never seen where people have always lived this way. “Mariam
hears the answer to Laila’s question in his laugh: that in the eyes of
the Taliban, being a communist and the dreaded KHAD makes Najibullah only
slightly more contemptible than a woman.”
The coming of the Taliban at first seems like salvation for a country
weary of war, but soon it becomes apparent that their severe way of interpreting
the Koran will make life nearly impossible for the women among them.
“Laila is glad when the Taliban goes to work that Babi wasn’t around to witness it. It would have crippled him.” Museums are smashed and pre-Islamic statues are broken. Paintings are ripped from the walls and shredded. Books, except the Koran are piled up and burned. The Beard Patrol is everywhere in their red trucks looking for anyone violating their rules. Movie theaters are torn down and the tapes destroyed. The music ghetto is silenced and musicians beaten and imprisoned. They even fire bullets into the grave of Tariq’s favorite singer, Ahmad Zahir, who has been dead for twenty years.
Rasheed is bothered much by the Taliban. He grows a beard and attends the mosque regularly. He loves the public spectacles like the severing of hands, the lashings, the hangings, and the beheadings held at the Ghazi Stadium very Friday. When Laila labels the Talliban as savages, Rasheed says, “Compared to what?” he points out that the Soviets killed a million people and the Mujahideen killed 50,000 in Kabul alone. The Taliban, he argues, are following the Koran’s adage of “eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth.” Laila says he is just like them. That’s when Rasheed makes the comment that Aziza has interesting eye color that is neither his nor Laila’s and that if the fancy strikes him, he will be in within his rights to give her away. What disgusts Laila the most is that she knows he’s right. In the morning and for several more after that, Laila is queasy and soon her feelings become more and more familiar
Laila becomes convinced that the only way to deal with this new pregnancy
is through abortion. However, she cannot go outside her house, so finding
a doctor to do one is impossible. As a result, she snaps a metal spoke
from a bicycle she finds in the alley and decides to do it herself. She
is ashamed to be a mother who cannot summon love for her own child. However,
in the end, she cannot do it, because she cannot accept what the Mujahideen
readily accepted: that sometimes in war innocent life has to be taken.
Her war is against Rasheed. The baby is innocent and Laila has seen enough
killing of innocents caught in the cross fire of enemies.
What the Taliban does to the city is horrible to watch for everyone except
Rasheed who loves what these backward, ignorant young men are doing.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
. 09 May 2017