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"[A]n absorbing memoir."—Booklist
"[A] well plotted, fluid narrative."—Publishers Weekly
"For years, Suraya Sadeed has worked tirelessly to help the people of her war-scarred homeland. This terrific memoir is the story of her struggles, her sacrifices, and her hopes. It is the moving life story of a remarkable woman who has overcome personal tragedy and has made it her single-minded mission to bring hope, relief, and a measure of happiness to the brutalized women and children of Afghanistan."—Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
"I read this book in one gulp. I couldn't put it down. Suraya Sadeed is an amazing woman who has done what few others have dared, or cared enough, to do. Her life is inspiring, and so is her life story—this riveting, clear-eyed book."—Mir Tamim Ansary, author of West of Kabul, East of New York
"Wisecracking beneath her burka, [Sadeed] talks her way into horrific refugee camps, creates a clinic for women (they must skulk in by a secret door) and illegally starts a girls' school in a windowless basement. This former businesswoman turned full-time activist lives what she fervently believes: that education is more powerful than 'the bullet and the bomb.'"—More
"An adventure story with heart that tells Sadeed's (the founder of the charity Help the Afghan Children) inspiring fight to bring aid, education, and peace training to Afghan citizens."—East Bay Express
"For the cost of one [American] bombing run," the author writes in this hard-hitting debut memoir, "I doubtless could have fed and clothed and cared for those 100,000 displaced Afghan refugees. For the cost of another...I likely could have educated their children."
With assistance from Lewis (Apache Dawn: Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, 2009, etc.), Sadeed, the founder of the nonprofit Help the Afghan Children, chronicles her many trips behind the lines in Afghanistan, where most aid workers feared to go. In 1993, at the time of her first trip back, the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the country was divided into in warring fiefdoms, making travel dangerous. The author weaves together her personal story with that of her native land in this gripping memoir. After the 1979 Soviet invasion, Sadeed and her husband had been fortunate to be able to emigrate to the United States. The birth of her daughter and her career as a successful real-estate broker occupied her until the sudden death of her husband in 1993. In an effort to move on after her personal tragedy, Sadeed decided to raise money in order to provide basic necessities for the 100,000 people who were living in a temporary refugee camp on the outskirts of Jalalabad, and deliver it to them personally. The author describes the dangers she faced and the many brave, open-hearted people she encountered on this and subsequent trips. Some episodes were hair-raising, others heartwarming. She was able convince some Taliban leaders to assist her humanitarian mission, while, unknown to them, she was secretly funding underground girls' schools and health clinics for women. Sadeed provides insight into the traditional values which still sustain the culture, while making an eloquent appeal for understanding, compassion and aid for the people of Afghanistan, and for more schools in order to educate young people and break the cycle of violence.
A moving message from a courageous humanitarian, and more timely than ever.
"Living in the West had given me every material thing that I could have wished for, but at the same time I had lost so much of what makes life worth living. In America my happiness was determined by the interest rate or the state of the housing market. If the interest rate fell, I was happy because I'd have to pay less on my home loans, and likewise if property prices rose. I had lived by that mantra.
Somewhere on the road to Jalalabad I had come back to myself. I had realized that I couldn't measure my happiness by numbers alone. I had helped countless refugees. And what I had gotten in return— experiencing the joy of helping others—was immeasurable. I could feel a new kind of happiness burning in my heart."
From Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse
Author's Note ix
Prologue: Lessons by Lamplight (1997) 1
Part I Finding Hope in a Lawless Land (1993-1995) 15
1 Help the Afghan Children 17
2 The Beginning 29
3 The Camel Road 39
4 The Devil's Flowers 53
5 The Edge of Darkness 63
6 The Widow Camps 79
7 City of Ghosts 93
8 A Promise to Fatima 107
Part II Under the Iron Fist of the Taliban (1996-2001) 117
9 The Tree of Amputations 119
10 It Is What It Is 133
11 Stoned and Flying Out Here 145
12 The Day the Earth Turned Angry 157
13 Life and Love 169
14 Young Enough to Wed 183
15 New York Comes to Kabul 193
16 Singing with the Taliban 203
17 The Kindness of Strangers 219
Part III Battling for Hearts and Minds (September 2001-Present) 225
18 The Darkest Day 227
19 The Wrong Side of the Border 241
20 The Boy Who Killed the American 251
21 The Gift of Learning 263
Epilogue: Drop by Drop a River Forms 279
Posted December 2, 2011
i thought this book was well written, compelling & inspiring and i got a real insight into the lives of the people written about in the book, this is a story that will stay with me my whole life,
i highly recommend this book, and it is now my favorite book to buy as a gift!
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Posted June 25, 2011
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Posted November 6, 2011
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