Kite Strings (No Spoilers)
This is a timely book. I’ll confess that I never really understood life in Afghanistan, nor what happened there. Hosseini paints quite a picture. I never understood the Taliban. Now I see them as power-hungry ideologues/criminals…eerily reminiscent of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. I didn’t understand the dynamics and animosities between the Pushtun/Master/Sunni’s and the Hazara/Servant/Shi’a minority. I’ll confess that I was clinging to a few wisps of hope that Iraq may…somehow…embrace democracy, and bypass Afghanistan's suffering. After reading this, I can’t see how. The Muslim world both fascinates and horrifies me. I find much in their culture to admire…but, Jeezapete, they scare me! The barbarity of war fuels the barbarity in people, and our troops are standing right in the middle of bitter hatreds that go back centuries. Damn.
Then there’s this war refugee/immigrant fixation of mine that’s been growing. By coincidence, I read Kite Runner right after Middlesex. Both books describe the war refugee/immigrant experience. To that, I’ll add my own. I am the child of war refugees and I am, myself, an immigrant. What I came to see were the similarities and commonalities of our individual experiences. It really doesn’t matter what your culture, religion or roots of origin are…refugees/immigrants have a tough life. To be sure, some immigrants flourish and prosper early (it’s the American Dream, after all). Still, most don’t. Most suffer the humiliations, torments and frustrations of every refugee in history. I grew up in that world. I saw that world again in Middlesex, and once again in Kite Runner. These books dredged up a lot of memories – good and bad. Refugees suffer in a thousand ways. Is it any wonder that practically all of my close friends are children of alcoholics (refugees/immigrants)? We’ve seen suffering. We’ve experienced some of it ourselves.