Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom

Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom

by Batya Swift Yasgur, Sulima
     
 

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Advance Praise for Behind the Burqa

"Whenever and wherever adults make war, children die and women are subjected to fear and humiliation. This is true of Afghanistan too. Read this harrowing book. The tragic yet heroic tale of two women is told with great simplicity. They will haunt you."
–Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"The

Overview

Advance Praise for Behind the Burqa

"Whenever and wherever adults make war, children die and women are subjected to fear and humiliation. This is true of Afghanistan too. Read this harrowing book. The tragic yet heroic tale of two women is told with great simplicity. They will haunt you."
–Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"The stories of Sulima and Hala achingly articulate the twin and enduring legacies of misogyny and violence. A critical historical document, Behind the Burqa ultimately reveals the unbreakable strength of Afghan women."
–Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues Founder and Artistic Director, V-Day

"Behind the Burqa provides important information about conditions in Afghanistan, as well as the plight of asylum-seekers in the United States. I highly recommend this book to all people who are concerned about human rights, both at home and abroad."
–Senator Sam Brownback, (R. Kansas)
ranking member, Immigration Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary

"This book is a gripping reading experience, and it also offers important suggestions for those who would like to participate in making our asylum politics more humane."
–Eleanor Acer, Director, Asylum Program, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

"This book shows the injustices suffered by innocent women seeking asylum in the U. S. and the power of religious faith to provide hope and courage even in prison."
–Fauziya Kassindja, author of Do They Hear You When You Cry

"Sulima and Hala epitomize the worldwide struggle of women for equality and justice. Their story is gripping and illuminating."
–Jessica Neuwirth, President of Equality Now

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This memoir from two sisters who fled Afghanistan 20 years apart distinguishes itself from the spate of books about women in similar circumstances by the sheer breadth of its coverage. Through these first-hand accounts of oppression, abuse and downright misery, readers come to understand that the much-maligned Taliban only picked up where the Mujihaddin left off in curtailing women's rights. In fact, as "Sulima" and "Hala"'s mother points out, "[The Taliban] is better than the Mujihaddin. The laws are strict and harsh, but at least we know what to expect. They're not just randomly breaking into houses and killing people.... If we keep all the rules, then we will be safe." The sisters' tales of domestic abuse and other now-familiar yet hair-raising injustices may crystallize the turbulent historical timeline, but it seems that their individual voices have been muted in translation. Unfortunately, it's so difficult to distinguish one from the other that much of the impact of this well-intentioned book is lost. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
* "The stories of Sulima and Hala achingly articulate the twin and enduring legacies of misogyny and violence. A critical historical document, BEHIND THE BURQA ultimately reveals the unbreakable strength of Afghan women."(Eve Ensler, Author, The Vagina Monologues, Founder and Artistic Director, V-Day)

"...a fascinating story..." (Publishing News, 2 August 2002)

This memoir from two sisters who fled Afghanistan 20 years apart distinguishes itself from the spate of books about women in similar circumstances by the sheer breadth of its coverage. Through these first-hand accounts of oppression, abuse and downright misery, readers come to understand that the much-maligned Taliban only picked up where the Mujihaddin left off in curtailing women's rights. In fact, as "Sulima" and "Hala"'s mother points out, "(The Taliban) is better than the Mujihaddin. The laws are strict and harsh, but at least we know what to expect. They're not just randomly breaking into houses and killing people.... If we keep all the rules, then we will be safe." The sisters' tales of domestic abuse and other now familiar yet hair-raising injustices may crystallize the turbulent historical timeline, but it seems that their individual voices have been muted in translation. Unfortunately, it's so difficult to distinguish one from the other that much of the impact of this well-intentioned book is lost. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly, September 30, 2002)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471263890
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.69(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Hala's religious faith and courage moved me very much. Her story reminds me of my own experiences in detention. Like me, Hala expected to be treated kindly and protected after she managed to flee persecution in her own country. Instead she found herself in detention, and was treated with cruelty and inhumanity. This book shows the injustices suffered by innocent women seeking asylum in the United States. I am sad that innocent people are still being imprisoned for no crime other than fleeing oppression. This book has information on how asylum-seekers are treated, and how you can help them. It also shows the power of religious faith to provide hope and courage even in prison."—Fauziya Kassindja, author of DO THEY HEAR YOU WHEN YOU CRY

"Women throughout the world have suffered at the hands of oppressive regimes, but the Taliban brought this subjugation to new levels of organized brutality. BEHIND THE BURQA dramatically brings to life the harsh reality women have faced in Afghanistan over the past twenty years. The story of Sulima's visionary involvement there in early efforts to promote women's rights is moving and inspiring, as is the story of her life. Both Sulima and Hala epitomize the world-wide struggle of women for equality and justice. Their story is gripping and illuminating."—Jessica Neuwirth, President of Equality Now

"The stories of Sulima and Hala achingly articulate the twin and enduring legacies of misogyny and violence. A critical historical document, BEHIND THE BURQA ultimately reveals the unbreakable strength of Afghan women." —Eve Ensler, Author, The Vagina Monologues Founder and Artistic Director, V-Day

"BEHIND THE BURQA brings readers dramatically into the plight of innocent asylum-seekers who are detained in the United States. The book is a grippingreading experience, and it also offers important suggestions for those who would like to participate in making our asylum policies more humane." —Eleanor Acer, Director, Asylum Program, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

"Whenever and wherever adults make war, children die and women are subjected to fear and humiliation. This is true of Afghanistan too. Read this harrowing book. The tragic yet heroic tale of two women is told with great simplicity. They will haunt you." —Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Meet the Author

BATYA SWIFT YASGUR is a freelance writer of both nonfiction and fiction. She won the 1995 Mystery Writers of America's Robert L. Fish Award for Best First Published Story and the Coalition of Alternatives in Jewish Education's David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Award for short fiction. She is the author of America: A Freedom Country (published by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service), the project through which she met Hala, one of the sisters whose story is told in Behind the Burqa. She is also the coauthor of Women at Risk, a book about cervical cancer and the HPV virus.

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