The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future
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As America prepares to draw down its forces in Afghanistan, this story of survival and hope from a voice of the country's most oppressed group could not be more timely. Born to the second of her father's seven wives in rural Afghanistan, Fawzia Koofi's mother―who had hoped for a son―left her to die in the sun after birth. But despite a childhood of abuse and deprivation in a notoriously sexist society, she rose above her fate to become the first female Speaker of Parliament. Along the way, she faced the murders of her father, brother, and husband, and numerous attempts on her life. Here, she shares her amazing story, punctuated by a series of poignant letters she wrote to her two daughters before each political trip―letters describing the future and freedoms she dreamed of for them and all their countrywomen. This eloquent memoir pleads for the world to recognize the politically devastating consequences if a frustrated American military relinquishes the country to the Taliban, undoing all the fragile progress of recent years.
for Children, 193–7 political career, See political career of Koofi as UNICEF children’s protection officer, 197–200, 206–12, 216 Chechens, 100, 208 child brides, 15, 19, 24–5 child mortality, ix, 152–3, 187, 219, 242–3 children in Afghanistan, ix, 15, 19–27, 29–30, 37–8, 152–6, 187, 221, 244–5 and child brides, 15, 19, 24–5 and divorce, 23–4 and mortality, ix, 152–3, 187, 221, 242–4 and second marriages, 38–9 China, ix, 193, 253 Clinton, Hillary, 240 clothing, See female clothing;
much as I loved listening to them report the international news. They were living proof Afghan women could be attractive, educated, and successful. But suddenly, the beautiful, intelligent female news presenters with their perfect hair and makeup that I had so admired disappeared from the screens. In their place dowdy women in scarves stumbled their way through the news. This change made me very worried. I went to my mother in tears one day, upset and scared and frustrated by the situation. She
one I had battled so hard to escape. I was very depressed. Days rolled into dusk, into sleepless nights and reluctant mornings when I squeezed my eyes shut to block out the sun and the gaily mocking light of another new day. After a few weeks the Taliban reopened universities for men, but by then many male students, teachers, and professors—the country’s intellectuals— had already fled the country. Taliban rule had transformed Kabul from a wartorn city into a dead city. I honestly couldn’t say
would probably feign offense if I took food, but she was already taking a great risk hiding my brother. An extra mouth to feed would stretch her meager resources to the limit. We returned to the lady’s house. It was imperative I went with my brother—not because he didn’t know the way, but rather because the surest way to arouse suspicion would have been for a strange man to enter the house alone. A man and a woman in a burqa looks like a social visit, while a man by himself looks like a morality
he was too weak to fight anyone. Many of the young men who got on trucks that day never came back. But they were successful in keeping the Taliban out of Faizabad and succeeded in pushing them back. In the middle of all this Shuhra decided to make her own entrance to the world. I had a terrible labor that lasted for three days. My sister and a female doctor friend were with me. Hamid stood waiting outside. This time he wanted a boy. I already had given him a girl, now I really was supposed to