Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom

Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom

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Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom by John Follain, Rita Cristofari

Zoya's Story is a young woman's searing account of her clandestine war of resistance against the Taliban and religious fanaticism at the risk of her own life. An epic tale of fear and suffering, courage and hope, Zoya's Story is a powerful testament to the ongoing battle to claim human rights for the women of Afghanistan.

Though she is only twenty-three, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people do in a lifetime. Zoya grew up during the wars that ravaged Afghanistan and was robbed of her mother and father when they were murdered by Muslim fundamentalists. Devastated by so much death and destruction, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. She joined the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, which challenged the crushing edicts of the Taliban government, and she made dangerous journeys back to her homeland to help the women oppressed by a system that forced them to wear the stifling burqa, condoned public stoning or whipping if they ventured out without a male chaperon, and forbade them from working.

Zoya is our guide, our witness to the horrors perpetrated by the Taliban and the Mujahideen "holy warriors" who had defeated the Russian occupiers. She helped to secretly film a public cutting of hands in a Kabul stadium and to organize covert literacy classes, as schooling-branded a "gateway to Hell" — was forbidden to girls. At an Afghan refugee camp she heard tales of heartrending suffering and worked to provide a future for families who had lost everything.

The spotlight focused on Afghanistan after the New York and Washington terrorist attacks highlights the conditions of repression and fear in which Afghan women live and makes Zoya's Story utterly compelling. This is a memoir that speaks louder than the images of devastation and outrage; it is a moving message of optimism as Zoya struggles to bring the plight of Afghan women to the world's attention.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060097820
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/2002
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 239
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

John Follain has covered Italy and the Vatican as a correspondent for the Sunday Times since 1998. He is the author of the critically acclaimed titles A Dishonoured Society: The Sicilian Mafia's Threat to Europe, Jackal: The Secret Wars of Carlos the Jackal, and Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom written with Rita Cristofari and Zoya. He lives with his wife in Rome.

Rita Cristofari has worked as a press officer for the United Nations and Médecins Sans Frontières and for France 2 television.

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Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the whole book read it in a week hardly put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nisreen Sumrean More than 1 year ago
The book sounds like it would be good but it was horrible DONT WASTE YOUR TIME!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I read it in around 24 hours and still wanted more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book provides great insight into the harsh realities that the women of Afghanistan face under militant Moslem rule. Zoya is a brave and dedicated worker struggling to improve conditions in her home country. Her story is a fascinating look at the continous struggles that engulf this country so often in the news. She tells her story simply and honestly. This book is hard to put down. I read most of it in one day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Peace Corps Volunteer during the years of King Zaher Shah my husband jokingly asked our Pustu teachers how to say, 'What is Reality' . Then the answer posed another question when we recognized that reality and truth were one and the same word... This book was the first of many I have read in recent years that revealed a reality of Afghan life with truth. The detail in the scenes Zoya wrote about took me back to a time when I could smell Kabul whenever I thought of walking the streets. Zoya's recollections gave me shivers of reality, not only from her recall, but of my own. Afghanistan was never an easy place to live in. While I lived In Jalallabad and Kabul for 2 years each during years when I taught English to women and girls in the Lycee and in the Jalallabad Civil Hospital I saw suffering. I knew several women gynecologists, a great friend was a Family Planning Doctor in Jalallabad. While I was generally the only woman on the street, I was also generally the only foreigner on the streets. The rank and file people of Jalallabad welcomed me into their shops and the bank. Yes, I was the only woman who could spend her husband's money, in the first joint banking account, but I also had to countersign my signature at my home a few days later when the bank's book was driven by bike to my house to have my husband agree that the last transaction was appropriate. Generally the rider came while I was home and my husband was at school. So I once again signed my name, 'wife mary' in the huge red ledger. I kept a diary of my two years of Peace Corps and wanted to write my own summary of life in Afghanistan but like Tamin Ansary several years have passed since I was last in Kabul. I wondered if truth as we knew it to be about Afghanistan and the Taliban was actually reality. And while I have not been back I have written with Mary MacMakin's husband a few times after reading the article on Mary in Vogue. Somehow I feel it is safe to say that Zoya has revealed a reality as harsh as anyone can imagine regarding the life in Afghanistan today. She has given us a truthful story with details of life as we many would never accept and yet many have had to accept life as it is in Kabul and in the provinces. Zoya and her parents and friends struggled as many before and after struggle with forces below the surface. I still pray for Afghanistan regualarly and I still yearn to return. I belive this look at Afghanistan provides a reality so true that the world might relook at how we can deal with Afghanistan. Perhaps we need to reopen the schools by rebuliding Habibia High School on Darlumann. Perhaps we need to return the doctors and nurses and teachers to their homes and jobs. Perhaps we need to withdraw our troops. Perhaps more than a military presence we need to establish a humanitarian presence once again. The Food For Work guys, the nurses / admin / tech tuberculosis teams and the English and math / science teachers of my day spoke the language. Somehow I believe the missing element in Afghanistan today includes a lack of common language. Afghans have always cared for their own defense, somewhat like in a 'hood', with too many guns. What they have appreciated from America was our willingness to help establish social systems in builiding roads and schools. Silence is a terrible disability. I am so pleased one Afghan women spoke up to share her reality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book teaches readers a lot about Afghanistan. Zoya is a brave woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really opened my eyes to the struggles in Afganistan. I am so hopeful that the many woman and children can come to terms of what their country has become and move out for their own safety.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives an eye opening and realistic perspective of the lives of women in Afghanstan and the dangers they face daily. Its simple format makes it a fast read.