The Kite Runner: Historical, Political and Cultural Contexts By Hamed Madani The Kite Runner: Introduction INTRODUCTION ►First novel to be written in English ►Title is derived from an old Afghan hobby Gudiparan Bazi or Kite Flying ►It is a unique Afghan pastime
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►First novel to be written in English
►Title is derived from an old Afghan
hobbyGudiparan Bazi or Kite
►It is a unique Afghan pastime
during windy spring season
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Khalid Husseini
►Born in 1965 in Kabul, Afghanistan
►Moved to the States in 1980
►Attended Santa Clara University, Cal.
►Graduated from UC San Diego School
of Medicine in 1996.
►His specialty is internal medicine.
►The novel maps the journey of the
Amir, the narrator
►The story takes place in Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and the United States from 1975
►Hazaras consists of about10 to 15 percent
►Uzbaks consists of about 9 percent
►Others (Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani) 13
►Afghanistan has two dominant religious groups, the Sunni,
or the so-called orthodox Islam, and Shi’ite or the
►Sunni constitutes 85 percent of the population and
Shi’ite consists of 15 percent of Afghan population
►Shi’ites split from the Sunni’s in the seventh century over
who the Prohet Mohammad’s legitimate successors were
►Shi’ites consider Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the
Prophet, the legitimate successor
►Shi’ites developed their own conception of Islamic law
►In the past Shi’ites had been persecuted in Afghanistan.
Amir belongs to:
► a wealthy family whose father is a businessman
►the dominant Pashtun ethnic group
►the dominant Sunni religious group
Amir tells the story of his friendship with Hassan.
►Hassan and his father, Ali, are Amir’s servants
►He is a low-caste ethnic Hazara
►He belongs to the minority Shi’it religious
►He is the victim of discrimination due to his religious
and ethnic identity
►The Kite Runner leaves one feeling a terrible
Sadness for the Afghan people
►Afghans have suffered at the hands of foreign
invaders and their own people throughout the
history of Afghanistan and particularly in the
past 30 years.
►In The Kite Runner, Khalid Husseini
brilliantly tells their story within a story.
To better understand an appreciate the context of The
Kite Runner, basic understand of Afghan history,
politics, and culture is necessary.
►For majority of its history, Afghanistan was at a crossroad
of many civilizations and empires and a cockpit for
contests between rivals
►These rivals and empires included Achaemenid, Ancient
Greece, Mauryan, Sassanian, Aabs, Mongol, Mogul, and
►The Safawids ruled in western Afghanistan and the Moguls
►President Mohammad Daoud was the last
►He was the Prime Minister from 1953-1963
►Took power from the last Afghan king in
1973 in a coup with the help of Afghan
communists and changed Afghanistan to a
►Deposed by the Afghan communists in a
bloody coup in April 1978
►King Zaher Shah is still alive at the age of
►He is given the title of “Baba.”
►The Soviet Union and United States became the dominant
powers after World War II.
►The two world powers sought influence around the world,
►Afghanistan regained its status as a pawn of superpowers
►This superpower rivalries during the Cold War led to
further disintegration of the Afghan state.
COMPETITION BEARS ARMS
►Afghan government needed to modernize its armed
►Maintain internal security
►Gain control of independent tribes
► Strengthen central government to foster
political and economic development
►When the U.S. government rejected Afghan request for
arms, Afghans turned to the Soviet Union
►The Soviet Union not only provided Afghanistan military
hardware, but also built several airports and thousands of
Afghans went the Soviet Union for military training.
►Most of the officers either joined the Afghan Communist
Party or became sympathetic to it.
ORIGIN OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
►The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)
was formed in 1965
►The PDPA split and remained divided until July 1977
►The Soviets concluded that Daoud had become too
independent to be tolerated.
THE SAUR REVOLUTION
►The Soviet KGB reunited the two factions of the PDPA
►A prominent PDPA leader, Mir A. Khyber, was
assassinated in April, 1978.
►His murder led to a bloody coup on April 27, 1978.
►The coup leaders renamed the country the Democratic
Republic of Afghanistan.
►Taraki became the Prime Minister
►Karmal and Amin became Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister, respectively.
►Land reform: limited land ownership by a family to
14.3 acres of land.
►Reducing bride-prices or dowry to 300 Afghani or $6.00
►Prohibiting arranged marriages
►Prohibiting marriage for women under 16 years and for men
under 18 years of age.
OPPOSITION AND RESISTENCE TO REFORMS
►These reforms challenged the prevailing traditional and
Islamic values and sentiments of Afghans.
►The regime encountered bitter resistance.
►Opposition took the form of a religious jihad or holy war,
a war in defense of Islam against th atheist regime of kabul.
►The oppositions established their headquarters and bases
in Peshawar, Pakistan.
►They were made up of seven military-political groups.
►Here are the pictures of some of the leaders:
►The CIA launched a major covert operation to help the
Mujahideen defeat communism.
►The CIA placed ads in Arab newspapers to recruit young
Muslims to join the Afghan “holy war.”
►The CIA eventually provided the Mujahideen with the
decisive weapon of the war, the Stinger missiles in 1986.
►Eventually the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from
Afghanistan on February 15, 1989.
►The last Afghan Communist ruled several more
►The world Taliban is the plural of and Arabic word, Talib
or someone who seeks religious knowledge before he
becomes a preacher in a mosque.
►They were the sons of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and
attended Pakistani schools of theology
►Became active in October 1994 in Qandahar and
continued there advances in the country with help of
►By 1997 they held about 90 percent of the Afghan
territory, including Kabul.
THE TALIBAN ACHIEVEMENT
►They brought relative peace and security in the country
►The banished the warlords and forced to the northeastern
corner the country and formed the Northern Alliance
►Restored law and order but through rigorous enforcement
of Islamic punishment: public beating, flogging,
amputation of hands, and stoning to death.
►The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression
of Vice was the powerful arm of the Taliban government.
►The ministry issued strict religious decrees that denied
people the right to freedom of expression, association,
the right to work, and the right to education
►They prohibited games such as kite flying, chess, music,
►Only three countries recognized the Taliban government:
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan
►Initially, America gave a lukewarm support to the Taliban
►We hoped the regime would be a partner in oil-pipeline
UNOCAL or Union Oil Company of California
►The new game, Cold War, between the U.S.A. and the
former Soviet Union brought death and utter destruction to
►Over 5 million Afghans abandoned their homes and went
into exile in other countries.
►Close to 1.5 million lost their lives
►Many left their homes for secured areas of the country.
A DIVERSE NATION
►Afghanistan is nation of groups with disparate ethnic,
religious, and tribal traditions.
►Over 30 different ethnic groups. They are not contained
►Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic groups, who account for
about 38 percent of the population and ruled Afghanistan
for most of the history of Afghanistan.
►Tajiks are the second largest ethnic groups with about 25
percent of the population.