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Afghanistan, Then And Now

Afghanistan, Then And Now

While I am pleased with The Jewish Week’s review of my book, “An American Bride in Kabul” (“Portraits Of The Feminist As A Young Woman” Nov. 15), and enjoyed being interviewed by the very soulful Susan Reimer-Torn, please allow me to correct three things.

First, like Nancy Miller, the author with whom I was jointly reviewed, I am also an emerita professor of psychology at CUNY, not merely a “psychotherapist.” Second, I did not write the book to justify a feminist position of any kind. I wrote it because Afghanistan and its people seem to have followed me into the future and right into the West. Islamic hijab (headscarves, which I do not oppose), niqab (face veils), and burqas (which I do oppose) are here in America, on the streets and in the headlines. Afghanistan is the country where I was once held hostage; it is also the country that sheltered bin Laden while he hatched his 9/11 plot in an Afghan cave. Now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by al Qaeda and jihadists. Surely, an eerie coincidence. Finally, in my lifetime, Afghanistan has also literally turned into a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel — even darker and more misogynistic than “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I wanted to connect my feminism, which was forged in purdah, in an Afghan harem, to the lives of Muslim women and dissidents today, who are the heroic people with whom I now work.



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