Monday, November 14, 2011

What is life like behind the veil?

One of the acts of great fiction is to bring reality to life in a way that not only tells a revealing story about a slice of true life in some part of the world but also makes a point of cosmic truth about life. In A Cup of Friendship, Deborah Rodriguez does both.

Debbie writes from rich experience as an expat resident of Kabul who not only co-owned a coffeehouse and taught at the Kabul Beauty School but also founded Oasis Rescue, a nonprofit that aids post-crisis women. The plight of Afghani women and the conflicted moral quandaries of the modernizing Muslim community are portrayed with heartfelt empathy and deep compassion, if perhaps a fictionally easy optimism.
[H]er mother had told her before she died[,] "You will find that thing that makes you unafraid to die. That important thing that makes your life of value." All these years, Isabel thought that being a journalist was the thing of value that she was bringing to the party. Now she knew there was more. Now she knew that a person had to act, to be truly engaged, in order to make a real difference. Mum, Isabel though, it's taken me eons to understand. But now I do. ~ Deborah Rodriguez, founder of Oasis Rescue, in A Cup of Friendship
Certainly Debbie has acted her part in founding Oasis Rescue, but also she has opened her Afghani world to better Western understanding through her books. Without such reporting, whether in fiction like this or in her nonfiction Kabul Beauty School, the world would be lesser known. Debbie's books bring this world more understanding and help make our global community a more sympathetic place. Both roles, to act and to inform others, have equal value.

To pull back the Muslim veil enough for us to catch a glimpse of another reality as well as how American ignorance perpetuates Middle East strife, take in A Cup of Friendship.
I wonder... what you think.
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