The Lovers

The Lovers

Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet : the True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped An Honor Killing

Book - 2016
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A riveting, real-life equivalent of The Kite Runner--an astonishingly powerful and profoundly moving story of a young couple willing to risk everything for love that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about women's rights in the Muslim world.

Zakia and Ali were from different tribes, but they grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. By the time they were young teenagers, Zakia, strikingly beautiful and fiercely opinionated, and Ali, shy and tender, had fallen in love. Defying their families, sectarian differences, cultural conventions, and Afghan civil and Islamic law, they ran away together only to live under constant threat from Zakia's large and vengeful family, who have vowed to kill her to restore the family's honor. They are still in hiding.

Despite a decade of American good intentions, women in Afghanistan are still subjected to some of the worst human rights violations in the world. Rod Nordland, then the Kabul bureau chief of the New York Times, had watched these abuses unfold for years when he came upon Zakia and Ali, and has not only chronicled their plight, but has also shepherded them from danger.

The Lovers will do for women's rights generally what Malala's story did for women's education. It is an astonishing story about self-determination and the meaning of love that illustrates, as no policy book could, the limits of Western influence on fundamentalist Islamic culture and, at the same time, the need for change.

Publisher: New York :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062378828
Branch Call Number: 958.1047 NOR
Characteristics: xviii, 362 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, map, color portraits ; 24 cm


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Oct 30, 2017

So frustrating. I read to page 245 before I read of one decent outcome. Endless mistakes, hissy fits, missteps, and blunders. I wished with all my heart there was a satisfying outcome. I wish this couple well, but they struck me as incompetent and spoiled - taking money from donors and expecting everything for nothing.

Jun 15, 2016

Riveting and powerful sums it up. Makes us really appreciate our freedom of rights here in our country. Author did a great job of telling this couples story but also providing history and including other stories as well. For anyone reading I recommend following the foot-notes (I'm normally not one to do the foot-notes myself but I found the foot-notes as interesting and captivating as the book)

Apr 15, 2016

The author follows the desperate attempts on the part of Zakia and Ali to escape the attempts of her family to destroy them. The author also describes the fates of many other women in Afghanistan who go against their families' wishes. The same conditions exist for girls/women in other Middle East countries as well as in Europe and North America. These people deal with the principle of "Honor" which is nothing other than the belief that their daughters are their property. Should a woman disagree with her family, she is subject to beatings and eventually death. Unbelievably, the entire family, including the mother, siblings and extended family is part of the effort to punish the 'sinner'.
The history behind this system is tradition, age-old hatred of Sunni versus Sharia, the belief that women are less than human and a twisted interpretation of Islam. We can only hope that Zakia, Ali and their daughter are still safe.
Ayan Hirsi Ali is an internationally recognized author. She escaped from her country and family and now heads up the AHA Foundation. She works to help young girls and women to escape from forced marriages, female genital mutilation and 'honor' killings in the U.S. If you should want to learn more about this deviant behavior, you might read "Nomad". She has also written other books but this one, for me, was a compelling book on this subject.

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