Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom

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9780060097820: Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom

Zoya's Story is a young woman's searing account of her clandestine war of resistance against the Taliban and religious fanaticism at the risk of her own life. An epic tale of fear and suffering, courage and hope, Zoya's Story is a powerful testament to the ongoing battle to claim human rights for the women of Afghanistan.

Though she is only twenty-three, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people do in a lifetime. Zoya grew up during the wars that ravaged Afghanistan and was robbed of her mother and father when they were murdered by Muslim fundamentalists. Devastated by so much death and destruction, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. She joined the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, which challenged the crushing edicts of the Taliban government, and she made dangerous journeys back to her homeland to help the women oppressed by a system that forced them to wear the stifling burqa, condoned public stoning or whipping if they ventured out without a male chaperon, and forbade them from working.

Zoya is our guide, our witness to the horrors perpetrated by the Taliban and the Mujahideen "holy warriors" who had defeated the Russian occupiers. She helped to secretly film a public cutting of hands in a Kabul stadium and to organize covert literacy classes, as schooling-branded a "gateway to Hell" -- was forbidden to girls. At an Afghan refugee camp she heard tales of heartrending suffering and worked to provide a future for families who had lost everything.

The spotlight focused on Afghanistan after the New York and Washington terrorist attacks highlights the conditions of repression and fear in which Afghan women live and makes Zoya's Story utterly compelling. This is a memoir that speaks louder than the images of devastation and outrage; it is a moving message of optimism as Zoya struggles to bring the plight of Afghan women to the world's attention.

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About the Author:

John Follain has covered Italy and the Vatican as a correspondent for the Sunday Times since 1998. He is the author of the critically acclaimed titles A Dishonoured Society: The Sicilian Mafia's Threat to Europe, Jackal: The Secret Wars of Carlos the Jackal, and Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom written with Rita Cristofari and Zoya. He lives with his wife in Rome.



Rita Cristofari has worked as a press officer for the United Nations and Médecins Sans Frontières and for France 2 television.

From AudioFile:

Zoya committed her life to the cause of women's rights in Afghanistan at 14, when both parents were assassinated for political activities. Her life story is provocative; Zoya's position is predictably anti-Taliban, yet subtly anti-American. The reader's Afghani pronunciations sound rich and authentic, but comprehensible. Her vocal characterizations vividly paint Afghani widows exhausted by a lifetime of cruelty, as well as idealistic young women energized by revolutionary ideas of democracy. The reader's crisp voice doesn't succumb to undue sentimentality or political posturing. Unfortunately, the epilogue interview with Zoya is of poor technical quality, but it creates an image of her huddled in a safehouse, seeking both refuge and publicity for the cause. N.M.C. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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