Zoya is a 23-year-old Afghan woman who has already seen enough misery and heartbreak to last a lifetime. She grew up with war as a constant companion, her mother and father killed by Muslim fundamentalists. Fleeing Kabul with her grandmother, she wound up in Pakistan, where she joined an organization devoted to ending the Taliban's rule. Her crusade for freedom has led her back to Afghanistan many times, in an effort to help other women imprisoned within their oppressive burqas. Zoya's experiences and thirst for change will enlighten and inspire.
Now 23, Zoya was a child during the Russian invasion and a teen when the Taliban took power. The daughter of activists in Kabul, Zoya was raised by her grandmother after her parents disappeared. She now belongs to RAWA (see the review of Veiled Courage, above), a group her mother belonged to. Her reflections show the complex scars made by the tug of war between factional governments and tribal warlords, especially the effects of the Taliban. Many of Zoya's stories (e.g., women only permitted to leave their homes wearing a burqa and accompanied by a male; women often suffering and dying for want of a female physician) are covered in Latifa's My Forbidden Face (Forecasts, Mar. 11). Zoya tells of a society where kite flying, bright colors and even women's laughter is forbidden, and enforcers are often armed with Russian military leftovers or crude stones. Yet the Afghans Zoya speaks of remain rebellious and hopeful. She writes, "When I... saw Kabul in the daylight, even the mountains beyond the city which had seemed so peaceful to me when I was a child looked sad. But... that I had seen them again... made me feel stronger." Assigned by RAWA to live and work in a refugee camp near the Afghan-Pakistani border, Zoya now also travels abroad to raise funds for her organization. Her narrative voice is quiet and clear, making her recollections of the breathtaking violence she has witnessed nail-bitingly vivid and her descriptions of her struggle candid and poignant. Agent, Clare Alexander. (Apr.) Forecast: Like My Forbidden Face, this account will appeal to a more commercial readership. Coming on the heels of that memoir, Zoya's Story could lose some potential sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The horrors perpetrated by the Taliban and the Mujahideen and the inhuman restrictions imposed on all girls and women are recounted in this first-person narrative by a young woman from Afghanistan. The Soviet occupation of her country defined Zoya's earliest memories, but these were also her happiest times. She remembers flying kites, eating candy, watching television, and sneaking a dab of her mother's perfume. With the exit of the Soviets came the crushing, violent rule of the Mujahideen, the fundamentalist warlords. They were responsible for killing Zoya's parents for speaking out about the oppression. Zoya's adoptive grandmother then decided to flee with Zoya to Pakistan. In exile, Zoya's future began to take shape. She attended a girls' school and formed her resolve to fight for women's rights. She grieved for her country when the Taliban seized control in Afghanistan and turned it into a religious state where women were stripped of their humanity. In addition to wearing the burqa, women were banned from education, from dealing with male shopkeepers or being treated by male doctors, from traveling unaccompanied, from wearing shoes that make any noise, and from laughing or doing laundry in public-the list goes on. Zoya joined the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), dedicated to improving the lives of women, and she began working in a refugee camp and speaking abroad. It was on one of these overseas trips that Zoya was persuaded to write down this story of the suffering of her people, especially the women. This book will be useful for units of study on women's rights, Arab culture, Asian history or geography, or Islam. It can also be read as a biography. Girlsespecially will identify with Zoya's pain and her fight to change the lives of the women in her homeland. Chronology. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2002, Morrow, 239p,
Adult/High School-Born in Afghanistan in 1978, Zoya was an infant when the Muslim fundamentalist Mujahideen enlisted the aid of the United States to help fight against the Russian invasion of her country. Her parents homeschooled her for two major reasons: the Mujahideen often bombed the schools, and the teachers taught more about Russia than about their own country. Zoya's mother was an active member of the illegal and secret Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which worked tirelessly to help women and to liberate Afghanistan. Often, to carry on her undercover work, she wore the hot, cumbersome burqua. Zoya discusses the many beatings, rapes, tortures, amputations, and executions committed by the Mujahideen and the Taliban. After her parents were murdered for their revolutionary work, she and her adoptive grandmother fled to Pakistan. In her mid-teens, she devoted her life to liberating Afghanistan through literacy classes, rescue efforts, and speeches. She describes her first visit to New York in February 2001, and expresses the sympathy that she and her friends felt on September 11. Readers will relate to Zoya's clear, personal account of recent Afghan history, and her story would be a good supplemental text for social-studies courses.-Joyce Fay Fletcher, Rippon Middle School, Prince William County, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A tale of struggle and suffering under the Taliban and their predecessors, from a courageous freedom fighter who has become an international spokesperson for the Afghan people. The woman who narrated this story to two journalists does not use her real name. She is a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), created in the 1970s to resist first the fundamentalist mullahs, then the Russians, then their successors, the mujahideen and the Taliban. "Zoya" wistfully recalls her childhood in Kabul, where her grandmother cared for her while her mother worked, often coming home exhausted late at night. In 1985, the year Zoya turned eight, her mother finally explained that it was her work for RAWA that kept her so busy. Soon Zoya was carrying secret papers in her backpack as she accompanied her mother on political work. She learned to lie about her mother's whereabouts and came to realize that, though her mother loved her, work came first. That realization signaled the end of her childhood: "I feel no sadness about this—I wanted to grow up fast so that I could achieve something useful." After the Russians withdrew in 1989, the mujahideen began shelling Kabul and her parents disappeared, apparently killed. Mujahideen soldiers forcibly entered homes demanding that young women marry them; it was dangerous to be out on the streets even for women in burqas. In 1992, RAWA arranged for Zoya and her grandmother to flee to Pakistan, where she attended a RAWA-run girls' school. When the Taliban took over, she began working in the refugee camps in Pakistan, returning only once (heavily disguised) to Kabul. She vividly describes Taliban atrocities, the grossly inadequatemedical care for women (most female doctors fled), and the absurdity of wearing the cumbersome burqa, in which "something as mundane as eating ice cream became a ridiculous undertaking." Timely and sobering