A Norwegian in Kabul? / by KirstenStudio

bookseller-1Since I've been editing a piece on women and children of Afghanistan, I have been doing a good amount of reading on subjects ranging Afghanistan's history, to it's culture, the muslim faith and a female's role in all of it.  The book I've recently come across is written by a Scandinavian of all things. Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian freelance journalist and writer. Oddly enough, this Norwegian woman was granted access into an Afghan family for over three months and composed The Bookseller of Kabul from her time with them.  The Bookseller of Kabul, first published back in 2003, is an intimate and intense look at the day to day life of the bookseller, "Sultan", and his family living in their war torn country. In addition, the book concentrates on the gender gap that seems so ingrained in Afghan culture, and as a result it also reveals the incredible strength of Afghan women.  Seierstad's book eventually became known in Afghanistan via bootleg copies.  The Bookseller claimed political asylum during a trip to Scandinavia in 2005.  He claimed the book's publication made this life in Afghanistan unsafe.  He has since written his own book in response to Ms. Seierstad's publication.  Regardless of the book's extremely unfortunate fallout in regard to the bookseller and his family, it is a unique inside illustration of Afghan life, it's struggle between tradition and westernization and a woman's role within both.  It's been out for awhile now, but it is still timely considering the current political situation as well as the fact that it's a reminder of the importance of human rights and gender equality and that we still have a long way to go in obtaining them.