MOBI The Sewing Circles of Herat A Personal Voyage Through ☆ ☆

Twenty one year old Christina Lamb left suburban England for Peshawar on the frontier of the Afghan war Captivated she spent two years tracking the final stages of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets as Afghan friends smuggled her in and out of their country in a variety of guisesReturning to Afghanistan after the attacks on the World Trade Center to report for Britain's Sunday Telegraph Lamb discovered the people no one else had written about the abandoned victims of almost a uarter century of war Among them the brave women writers of Herat who risked their lives to carry on a literary tradition under the guise of sewing circles; the princess whose palace was surrounded by tanks on the eve of her wedding; the artist who painted out all the people in his works to prevent them from being destroyed by the Taliban; and Khalil Ahmed Hassani a former Taliban torturer who admitted to breaking the spines of men and then making them stand on their headsChristina Lamb's evocative reporting brings to life these stories Her uniue perspective on Afghanistan and deep passion for the people she writes about make this the definitive account of the tragic plight of a proud nation

10 thoughts on “The Sewing Circles of Herat A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan

  1. says:

    I wouldn't place this among the best books I have read about Afghanistan but it still was a decent read Christina Lamb co author of I Am Malala The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban covered the Afghan war during the late 1980s She returned to Afghanistan after September 11th to write about the people who lived under Taliban rule This book was first published in 2002 and contains an afterword from Fall of 2003Having spent time covering the war in the 1980s really turned out to be a huge asset for the author as she was able to interview key people for this book including Hamid Karzai who became Afghanistan president in December 2001 By far the best parts of this book were the stories of the people of Afghanistan Even though I have read uite a few books specifically on the women in the country I still learned uite a bit of info While I knew books and museum artifacts had been destroyed under Taliban rule I had never heard the story of an artist who used watercolors to cover over the faces and bodies of people on oil paintings so they wouldn't be destroyed My biggest criticism of the book is it just didn't have a cohesive flow and at times could be hard to follow I would not recommend this book if you aren't already familiar with the country and what has taken place in the last few decades The history bits were usually placed in the middle of chapters and didn't really transition well At times it felt like way too much unnecessary info was being provided I much would have rather heard from the people she interviewed and their experiencesI have to say it was interesting reading this book knowing that it was written over 15 years ago I found myself wondering what has happened to some of the people she interviewed There was a particular prediction from a man that is pretty spot on He essentially stated the Taliban will never be defeated and they will just come back under a new name It was pretty chilling to read his words knowing that the battle against terrorism in some ways is even difficult nowI think this book probably had of an impact when it was first published but in my opinion there are better books now on the market if you are interested in learning about Afghanistan It certainly wasn't a wasted read but this isn't a book I would go out of my way to recommend like I have with others

  2. says:

    In these memoirs the author writes about her experiences in Afghanistan a country with which she has come to care deeply about and to explore intimatelyShe details her experiences with people she has interviewed and come to know in Afghanistan and what she has come to witness in her years thereThrough the book she shapes a history of Afghnanistan a rich land of many nations which has been invaded by many from the armies of Alexander the Great the Persians and Mongols the British and RussiansSoviets and most recently the Arab and Pakistani IslamistsWe learn that most of the Taliban were not Afghans at all but Arabs and Pakistani Islamo Nazis barging into a county were they found it easy to wage their nihilist jihad and foist Islamo Nazism on a hapless populationThe author explores the totalitarian and insane laws forced on the people by the Taliban in Afghanistan during the Taliban reign of terror there such as forcing women to be covered by a burka to be not allowed out unless accompanied by a male relative any woman who had her nails painted was to have her fingers cut off and any woman who showed her ankles was to be whippedMusic was banned laughing in public was baned chess was banned card were banned flying kites were banned keeping any pets including birds was bannedOf course the people of Afghanistan welcomed the American liberation of that country from the Taliban hell even if Islamic jihadis and left wing fanatics around the world did notThe people of Afghanistan wanted to be free even if the likes of Noam Chomsky and the Satanic Stalinist Workers World Party in America or George Galloway's 'Respect' did notThe author highlights memoirs of the holocaust perpetrated by the Soviets on the Afghan people Isn't it ironic that the same Communist rabble around the world that supported Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan should be the same ones who loudly join in the hyena chorus against the USA for liberating Afghanistan from Taliban terrorAnd why are radical feminists in the West so silent about atrocities against women in Islamic states by the same Islamists these Western radicals are so uick to championWe also learn how the Afghans yearned for the peace and claim of the reign of the enlightened King Zahir Shah before 1973Zahir Shah had spilled no blood and allowed a peaceful and enlightened country to flourish in which women enjoyed full rightsAfghanistan was plunged into the hell of the Soviet holocaust and then Islamist tyranny from 1978 when the Communists were foisted by the Soviets like a bacillus onto AfghanistanA very colourful highly readable and exciting window into the tragedy of Afghanistan and it's liberationIt was beautiful to read of the freedom enjoyed by women and girls after the Taliban were forced to fleeYoung women could wear lipstick and trousers and enjoy a full range of freedoms under the presidency of Hamid KarzaiBut still that country struggles under the terror of Islamist terrorism and the fear that the Taliban and Al aeda may regain control and reinstall their regime of terror

  3. says:

    I read thiswhen it came out in 2004British journalistChristina Lamb returns to Afghanistanfollowing the US invasion and the fall of the Talibanafter having already been there during the Soviet occupation in the 1980sThose days are described in her Pakistan bookWaiting for AllahFor some reasonshe has a strong affinity for the Afghan fighterswho in addition to fighting the Soviets and the Americanshave spilled the blood of their countrymen with abandontooThere are some chilling depictions of the atrocities committed by the Talibanand the restrictions and bans imposed by themLamb also renews her acuintance with Hamid Karzaiwhom she had met earlier in PakistanHe was President of Afghanistan at that timeInterestinglywhile she finds a lot of fault elsewhereshe is uiet about the impact of the US invasion on the lives of Afghanswho were subjected to a massive aerial bombing campaignShe moves through Afghanistanwrites about the hardships of the lives of women and talks about receiving letters from an Afghan woman at periodic intervalsDespite being slanted and cynicalit is fairly interesting

  4. says:

    The best nonfiction book I have ever read on Afghanistan Compelling story vivid description meticulous investigation word class storytelling It brought Afghanistan and Afghans come to live this book even introduces Hamid Karzai as a person with humane feelings not merely a president we used to see on press conferenceThe most mindblowing chapter for me is Chapter 9Face to Face with the Taliban about Taliban and Pakistan interference in Afghanistan history and future So many people had blood on their hands over Afghanistan probably nobody came out of it well from the commanders who had enriched themselves to the journalists who had tried to make their name then moved on to other 'sexier' wars to the foreign powers who used the mujaheddin as Cold War proxies then abandoned them But as I looked back and saw the Pakistani ISI general standing at his door laughing I saw a man who had tried to play God with the fates of innocent people in another country because his own country had failed to live up to its promise

  5. says:

    This book was just an ego book for the author about HER journey and what SHE did rather than exploring the life of the people that she met It was a 'As I was going through the town here is what I was doing' instead of telling us about the town and its people The title of the book is misleading as well as you only meet the women briefly in one chapter of the book and never hear from then again I was expecting a book about these brave women meeting in secret to defy the hardline men but they were barely spoken about I'm glad I only got this book from the library as it was a huge letdown

  6. says:

    I finished this book but had a hard time with it The book meandered through scads of tribal history introducing what felt like hundreds of names without giving providing a clear picture of the historical events or their context It needed an editor with a sharper eye to readability and continuity

  7. says:

    This is a very compelling book One that I took me uite some time to finish because I was unable to read than a few pages at a time Very disturbing Another one of those “Thank God I live in the United States” books Ms Lamb traveled to the region in the 1980s and was captivated by the Afghans the mujaheddin who was fighting the Soviets She rode on motorbikes with the bearded mujaheddin and was literally in the trenches with them as they fought for their country’s freedom After the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001 Ms Lamb returned to Afghanistan to find the motorcycle mullahs now Taliban leaders Then men she once talked with freely no longer tolerated her Her journey across Afghanistan takes her to Herat an ancient Persian city where under the guise of sewing circles carried on the city’s tradition of writing Their attempts at hiding art and valuable artifacts from Taliban destruction is truly at act of bravery

  8. says:

    Christina Lamb is a journalist from England who has traveled to Afghanistan several times in her career These visits to this country have ranged from before and after 911 and the terrorist attack on the United StatesThis book is checkered throughout with letters from a young lady Marri in Afghanistan who explains of her love of dancing and red lipstick However Marri's letters are also full of fear anger and hurt because of the men who force her to hide beneath the buraIn this book Christina provides pieces of Afghanistan's history; the beauty the country used to possess She speaks of interviews with members of the Taliban She discusses wars and how children are brought up not to play and love but to fight hate and win Christina explores and writes about every side and she does so unbiasedly; as a good journalist shouldThis is the book The Hubble chose for me for July Yes I've been reading it for 2 months This is not a page turner by any means In fact when I finished the book I simply sat there holding it for a good 5 minutes before taking it back to The Hubble in the other room When I walked out and handed him the book he asked me how do you feel The only answer I could give was drainedThis book made me feel many emotions I felt anger toward the men who beat Marri's mother because she removed her bura to look at a swatch of fabric I felt sad for the families who found their loved ones hanging from tree branches I felt scared for the women who would have secret lessons so as to continue educating the young girls in the countryIt amazes me to see pictures of women walking through the streets of Afghanistan with heels skirts books and their hair done in modern styles I can hardly envision the landscape when the country is described to have been a paradise with trees gardens birds and exuisite beauty Afghanistan once was a tourist destinationBut 23 years of fighting has definitely marred our memories and perceptions of this once great land But if I feel that way how can I imagine it would feel to be a child brought up in that environment Can it ever change??When I read this book I kept thinking this is why we are there I couldn't help but be touched by Marri's distress or the tales of men being forced into the Taliban by being threatened On the other hand Christina Lamb described in such amazing detail the hatred some people in Afghanistan feel for Americans that I found myself wondering why the Hell should we help them?? They just want to kill our peopleI don't know if this country will ever have peace I keep thinking about the movie Lady in the Water There's a part in the movie where they talk about the author of a book This book will be written and it will be found by a young boy This boy will take this book and read it This boy will change the world because of this one book I keep thinking we need that one book and that one boy But even if the book and the boy were to meet that boy wouldn't be able to read that book Education in that country is goneWhen The Hubble was in Afghanistan last year he got to talking with his interpreter during a recon mission The Hubble asked his interpreter Will Afghanistan ever have peace? To this the interpreter replied Without education there will be no peaceThis book was difficult and emotional to read but I'm glad I did I've been having trouble understanding why The Hubble is SO passionate about these people and why he wants to get back as uickly as possible After reading this bookI get it I absolutely get it

  9. says:

    The sewing circles were an excuse for girls to gather under the Taliban Surreptitious classes were given and a half finished dress was kept handy for when the Taliban police showed up to check Of all the books I have read about Afghan culture a misnomer really since the country is a collection of peoples that no empire could handle Christina Lamb seems to know it best and have the greatest sympathy She travelled with some of the Taliban when they were just a group fighting the Russians and knew Hamid Karzai when he got along with them Her understanding of the tormented history from the medieval learning center of Herat to the troubled monarchy to the crammed Afghan refugee uarters in Pakistan is strong without overwhelming the narrative The book is slightly dated as the old warlords she discusses Ismael Khan and Rashid Dostum have been eased from the roles in the Afghan government and as the book closes Karzai is just beginning his ascent This is a book that gathers power as each piece is fit into place culminating in Lamb finding a woman whose letters had been smuggled out of Afghanistan during the Taliban What emerges as most powerful is the sheer courage not of the men with guns but of the women who insist after everything that has happened all the tribal codes and the Taliban that they have so much to contribute

  10. says:

    've lost count of how much fiction on or by Afghans I've read over the years starting from Rabindranath's Kabuliwala and MM Kaye's Far Pavilions to Rumi and then to Khaled Hosseini Nadia Hashimi Yasmina Khadra Asne SeierstadAfghanistan has always been the darling of writers and journalists because few countries can claim a poignant and moving history which is still in the makingThis one however is special in its own way; the author is both a writer and a journalist; weaving a tautly written personal memoir with many relevant facts figures and photographs which make the story come aliveLast such account of a foreign and how country that I liked so much was Nothing to Envy by Barbara DemickI felt like a parasite sucking up all these tales of tragedy to regurgitate in newsprint for people thousands of miles away and with no tangible advantage to those I interviews I had no answer to why the world had done nothing