Afghanistan is regarded as a classical patriarchal society, where social tradition, religious doctrine and socio-economic and cultural backwardness have made women second-class citizens. But what has been the nature of life for women in Afghanistan? How have they been treated, both in the private sphere and in public? How did they resist mistreatment during the war inside Afghanistan, in refugee camps or in diaspora? Who are the sponsors and perpetrators of violence against Afghanistani women? And what are the connections between Islam, local customs, the mistreatment of women, and women’s connectedness to revolution and jihad? This book provides answers to these questions through an innovative study of the life and short stories of one of the country’s leading female writers, Maryam Mahboob. It offers a different image of both the suffering and resistance of Afghanistani women than that which the ‘West’ has come to know.
Dr Faridullah Bezhan was born and grew up in Afghanistan, where he taught literature at Kabul University. He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Australia. He has published several books and articles in English and Persian on the history and literature of Afghanistan, especially the work of the country’s prominent and emerging female authors.