My Forbidden Face Book Review: The Struggles Of Growing Up Under The Taliban Rule
The book My Forbidden Face is a book about the struggle of a young girl around the age of 16 whose real identity is hidden and goes by the name Latifa. The book is an autobiography discussing her life growing up in Afghanistan as the Taliban were taking over her country. The book teaches the readers about the conflicts many innocent citizens faced. Towards the end of the book the family starts to make plans on how to flee the country and they start helping to save their country. The novel always had the readers on their feet including from the very start when we first learned that Latifa and her family were in danger.
In the beginning the book started to reveal that her family was aware they would be in danger soon but yet they knew they could not stop it. On September 27,1996 around 9 am Latifa’s cousin Farad came to their house panicked. He came to warn them that the Taliban have reached, Kabul; their hometown and Afghanistan’s capital. Even though the citizens of Kabul knew that eventually this would happen and their government would be overthrown it was a tragic experience to them. Farad told them that the first decree, a law ordered to anyone not Taliban, was that everyone was to surrender their weapons and place them at the Mosque. When they got their they noticed a flag over the mosque, “..we saw the white flag waving over the mosque.. We were afraid the worst had happened.” Seeing the Taliban flag over their church made them realize the reality of what was happening.
Shortly after this happened the streets of Kabul become frantic and the citizens went into deep terror. Their terror deepened when citizens discovered that the Taliban tortured the Afghan president, Najibullah, to death and then hung him in the streets for everyone to see. As people walked by the Taliban would whip innocent citizens and make them stare at the body of their president. “Najibullah’s face is recognizable, but blue, mottled with bruises. The Taliban have stuffed cigarettes into the mouth and crammed his pockets full of paper money.. On purpose to advertise his greed.” The Taliban were violent towards anyone that did not have their same views and tortured many innocent people.
Not only are the Taliban filled with hatred for Afghans but they also severely despise women and do everything they can to make women feel worthless. The Taliban release more decrees, stating that women are not allowed to attend school or have educational activities. They then do not allow women to work. Latifa says, “Women have no more lives..” On top of not being able to have an education or job the Talibs put down more unreasonable harsh decrees specifically for women.
Some include; women are not allowed to go to beauty salons, makeup is banned, women must not leave their house alone without a male to accompany them and if they do they will face violent consequences, and one of the things they do make them feel inhuman and invisible is that outside they must wear chadris, face wraps, that can only show their eyes. The Taliban do not want women to feel needed or useful and instead want to make them feel inhuman. The women are forced to completely change their lives and who they are.
Latifa starts to hate the life outside of her house, she decides to rebel what it is happening by staying inside her home and avoiding the life outside with the Taliban. However, one day her cousin comes to her house and convinces her to leave her house. One of Latifa’s most feared and disliked decree is the regulation of having to wear a chadri. Latifa says,“This isn’t clothing, it’s a jail cell” she not only dislikes how it is created to hide who she is but it also puts her at risk. She is in fear that she will be punished if it falls down and reveals her face or if she trips on it. Despite the worries her cousin and her go into town. Within the short time they are there they witness a tragic incident.
Shortly into their trip into town a speeding car drives through the street and pull up to a group of women. Latifa and her cousin watch as a Talib rushes out of the car and begins to violently whip a women. Latifia and her cousin rush away and go into their house terrified. They later discovered that the reason for this violence was because the women was wearing white shoes. The Taliban took this offensively because their flag is white, therefore they looked at it as a form of stepping on their flag. Sadly Latifa and many other innocent Afghan citizens experience the unfairness and harsh treatment the Taliban enforced.
Even though she had to experience this for many years Latifa luckily was able to get away from Afghanistan and help her country. One day Latifa is approached with a life-changing opportunity. In April of 2001 her one friend tells her about how French newswriters want to interview Afghan women on their lives and difficulties they have. Latifa and her family know that it would be the riskiest thing they could do and put them all in risk of death. Although they know that being caught could lead to death for Latifa and her family, she knows she must take the opportunity in order to attempt change for her culture and people.
The first step of the process was leaving Kabul to start heading to France. The family decided to take Latifa to be the main speaker and because she secretly taught a school, her father due to the requirement of having a male with you while in the streets, and her mother because she was a doctor and had to give it up. They first work on leaving Kabul to go to Islambad, they decided their fake excuse as to why they are going is that they need medical help. The family always has sense of worry, “My stomach is in knots at the border..” however they keep pushing through and are able to get out of Kabul and past the border.
They then later go to Dubai and receive their visas before leaving to fly into Paris. The airplane scenario was one of the more intense parts of the trip. The French Policemen were suspicious at first that a group of 4 people received visas so quickly. However another policemen steps in and the group is able to explain the situation and board the plane. Once in France they meet the reporter and tell their story, but towards the end of what was meant to be a short visit they learn that the Taliban know they are in France and threaten to kill them if they come back. Unable to return home they decide to stay in France and were given help to get their lives started in their new home.
This book was an educational read that was very devastating yet also had a positive ending. I enjoyed reading the book and learning about the crisis I was unaware of. It helps readers learn about other cultures and can lead to appreciate the freedom we have in America. Latifa continues to live in France and eventually will reunite with her family and friends back in Afghanistan. The Taliban issue did highly decrease after the bombing of the twin towers because the United States then fought back against the Taliban. This book taught both life lessons and historical events and I would recommend it to people interested in other cultures.
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