The Underground Girls of Kabul

In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

By Jenny Nordberg
(Crown Publishing Group (NY), Hardcover, 9780307952493, 350pp.)

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

List Price: $25.00*
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Description

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl
In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A "bacha posh "(literally translated from Dari as "dressed up like a boy") is a third kind of child - a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the "New York Times," constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.
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The Underground Girls of Kabul "is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents' attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.
At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America's longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. "The Underground Girls of Kabul" charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.




About the Author
D'origine suedoise, basee aux Etats-Unis, Jenny Nordberg a longtemps fait partie de l'equipe d'investigation du "New York Times" dont un des reportages a remporte le prestigieux prix Pulitzer en 2005. Elle est diplomee de l'universite de Stockholm (droit et journalisme) et de l'ecole de journalisme de Columbia University.


NPR
Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

In a new book, journalist Jenny Nordberg writes about the bacha posh, young girls who dress up like boys to enjoy the freedoms of being an Afghan male for as long as they can. More at NPR.org

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