Saturday, 12 November 2011

Seierstad, Åsne “The Bookseller of Kabul”

Seierstad, Åsne “The Bookseller of Kabul” - 2003

We have read a lot of books about Afghanistan in the book club, almost any that was suggested would be picked. Why we didn't choose this one, I really don' remember. I can only say, it certainly wasn't the best. That was “The Sewing Circles of Herat” by Christina Lamb, well researched and with a fine understanding of the other culture.

This is something I was missing in this book. Though the author tries to understand them, she doesn't really get into their minds, she lacks the feeling of the Eastern culture because she is a Westerner. It is easy to go to a place like this and say, I am democratic because we have certain democratic rules in our country. No, being democratic also has to be to understand that in other countries these rules do not work the same way.

I don't want to say that this allows people to neglect human rights but there is usually only a fine line between understanding the others and condemning them. I don't think the author got that.

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