The had sex, and to have sex

The novel The Swallow of Kabul written by Yasmina Khadra took place in Afghanistan when the Taliban was under control.

The theme of the novel is about how  men visualize women as sexual objects by disrespecting them and not being thankful for them. This is shown when Mohsen tells his wife she has no right to talk back to him, and she has to follow his orders. Another point where this is demonstrated is when the Taliban tell Zunaira to stay quiet because she is a lady and she has no say in anything. Finally, this is shown when the woman try to go on walks by themselves and they force her to take her burka off.The status of woman was degraded by the Taliban. The novel is full of examples of women being denied what many of us would consider basic civil rights or equality. In the beginning of the  novel,  a women accused of prostitution is being stoned to death by the public.

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Afterwards, she is buried up to her waist in the dirt and wrapped in veils and a mullah pronounces her sentence. He stretches out an arm like a sword toward the mummy and says, “This woman knew exactly what she was doing. The intoxication of lust turned her away from the path of the Lord. Today, the Lord turns his back on her. She has no right to His mercy, no right to the pity of the faithful. She has lived in dishonor; so shall she die.” He stops to clear his throat, then unfolds a sheet of paper amid the deafening silence.

“Allahu akbar! God is great!” yells someone in the back of the crowd. (13-14)  The woman has been denied what many people would see as basic rights, the right to live and to be listened to have their own voice. She was stoned because she had sex, and to have sex you need a man, but the man did not get stoned, only she did.

This clearly shows how women are being mistreated.  While the stoning is the most extreme example, women are subject to a completely different set of rules then men. Women are treated as property, totally dependant on the men in their lives for everything. When Atiq is talking with his good friend Mirza, Mirza express how he feels for women, and he is very disrespectful towards them. “Can there be any greater generosity to a woman than to offer her a roof, protection, honor, and a name? You don’t owe her anything. She’s the one who should bow down before you, Atiq, and kiss the toes of your feet, one by one, every time you take off your shoes.

She has little significance outside of what you represent for her. She’s only a subordinate. Furthermore, it’s an error to believe that any man owes anything at all to a woman. The misfortune of the world comes from precisely that misconception.” ( 27) Mirza says that Atiq does not own his wife anything.

Mirza is disrespectful to her, saying she is worth nothing. He is telling him to treat her like a slave, and saying that she should know her spot. He can say this just because he is the man and that she is a woman. “Let’s go,” Zunaira entreats Mohsen, pulling him by the arm.

“Don’t touch him, you! Stay in your place!” the thug yells, thwacking her across the hip. “And don’t speak in the presence of a stranger.” (pp. 89-90)Being veiled, denied the ability to speak or move independently, women under the Taliban were denied what many of us would describe as the basic rights, or status, of personhood.


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