The Silenced Cry: One Woman's Diary of a Journey to Afghanistan
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Tortajada's journey takes her from the slums and refugee camps in Peshawar, along the Pakistani-Afghan border, to Kabul. She writes about the revolutionary efforts of RAWA, the genocidal campaign of the Taliban to extinguish the Hazara ethnicity in Afghanistan, the failure of the international community to ameliorate the alarming situation of Afghan refugees, and offers a first-hand account of the atrocities Afghan women have been suffering at the hands of the Taliban.
The Silenced Cry is not only timely, but also compelling. With extremely evocative and poetic writing, Tortajada conveys the beauty of the landscape, and the wonderfully inspiring optimism of the people. In heart wrenching detail, we see just how debilitated and wretched the conditions were, yet we also see people who still fought for freedom, democracy, and basic human rights. Candid and compassionate, never condescending or pitying, The Silenced Cry is a human, approachable, and provocative look at the best and worst in the human spirit.
undyed wool from side to side of the weft, so as to reinforce the fabric. They work at an incredible rate. The woman shows us the design that she has sketched out on a piece of graph paper. She counts line after line as she weaves, so she will know when to change the color of the wool to reproduce the intended design exactly. In this phase of the process the ultimate design is indistinguishable; the part thus far woven looks simply like a tangled bunch of threads. Once all the knots are made, the
intersection, a tall and thin man approaches us. His cheekbones jut out above hollow, sunken cheeks covered by his beard. Dark, curly hair pokes out from beneath his small, round, simple cap. Slung over his shoulder is the traditional large kerchief that Afghan men use either as a turban or as a bundle for carrying things. He wants to sell us a pair of small statues he carries in his hands: two metallic birds, their wings spread above a wooden foot. He says they’re silver, from the museum in
dry with. Back in the market we’d seen vendors roaming the streets, laden with veritable multicolored mountains of such towels. I take note of the practicality of always carrying a towel with you in your purse, to have in case of need. Inside, the dining room is empty; we are the only customers. In the back of the room is a raised dais with four seats upholstered in red velvet, making them seem almost like thrones. “They’re for hosting weddings here,” our Afghan friends inform us. “The
piled all our clothes and other belongings in the middle of the house, doused them with gasoline, and set fire to it all. We had to grab what we could and run. This was eight months ago. We left on foot. The Taliban offered to take me with them, but of course I wouldn’t, since I have two teenage daughters. So we started walking in the middle of the night: me, my sick husband, and our nine children. Around dawn, I went into labor, and gave birth to my son in the middle of the road. Then we picked
SHAH: 1929–1933 • Sees a return to a harsh Islamic conservatism. • Soviet influence is replaced by a greater British presence. • A massive repression of Amanullah supporters is carried out, and many intellectuals and members of the Constitutional Movement are either murdered or imprisoned. • Nadir Shah is assassinated by a student. THE REIGN OF MUHAMMAD ZAHIR SHAH: 1933–1973 • Muhammad Zahir is very young when he rises to the throne, and rules under the tutelage of his family, especially