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 hobbyGudiparan Bazi or Kite Flying ►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
About the Author ►Attended Santa Clara University, Cal. ►Graduated from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 1996. ►His specialty is internal medicine. SYNOPSIS ►The novel maps the journey of the Amir, the narrator ►The story takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States from 1975 to 2003.
Ethnicity ►Hazaras consists of about10 to 15 percent ►Uzbaks consists of about 9 percent ►Others (Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani) 13 percent. Tajik Hazara Pashtun
Baluch Uzbak Pashtun
Religious Diversity ►Afghanistan has two dominant religious groups, the Sunni, or the so-called orthodox Islam, and Shi’ite or the so-called heterodox. ►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 and practices. ►In the past Shi’ites had been persecuted in Afghanistan.
Synopsis 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 denomination ►He is the victim of discrimination due to his religious and ethnic identity
Conclusion ►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.
Background to The Kite Runner To better understand an appreciate the context of The Kite Runner, basic understand of Afghan history, politics, and culture is necessary. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ►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 Safawid ►The Safawids ruled in western Afghanistan and the Moguls
The Abdali or Durrani Rulers ►President Mohammad Daoud was the last ruler. ►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 Republic, 1973-1978 ►Deposed by the Afghan communists in a bloody coup in April 1978 ►King Zaher Shah is still alive at the age of 93. ►He is given the title of “Baba.” Daoud King Zaher
A New Game: The Cold War ►The Soviet Union and United States became the dominant powers after World War II. ►The two world powers sought influence around the world, including Afghanistan ►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 forces to: ►Maintain internal security ►Gain control of independent tribes ► Strengthen central government to foster political and economic development
A New Game: the Cold War ►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 People’s Democratic Party ►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.
Amin’s Social Reforms SOCIAL REFORMS ►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. ►Outlawed usury OPPOSITION AND RESISTENCE TO REFORMS ►These reforms challenged the prevailing traditional and Islamic values and sentiments of Afghans. ►The regime encountered bitter resistance.
Mojaddidi Resistance Movement ►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: 9 2 6 8 1 5 3 7 4
The CIA and the Arabs ►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 years.
The Taliban ►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 Pakistan ►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 Taliban’s Achievement ►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, cassette
The Taliban and the World Reaction ►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 CONCLUSION ►The new game, Cold War, between the U.S.A. and the former Soviet Union brought death and utter destruction to the country. ►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.
Other Factors the Contributed to a Failed State in Afghanistan A DIVERSE NATION ►Afghanistan is nation of groups with disparate ethnic, religious, and tribal traditions. ETHNIC DIVERSITY ►Over 30 different ethnic groups. They are not contained within Afghanistan. ►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.