Afghanistan

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear, Atiq Rahini

A few days ago I got the first book in the Around the World Project: A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahini. I found it in a pile of post we pushed our way though when returning from Greece. It was like a flash from a movie, where the main character has gone missing for months. But we have a home now, and I guess that comes with post. From the pile, mine were the four first books from the list. Books from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria and Andorra.

Isn’t that truly awe inspiring? Travelling through time and space like that. Thoughts dowloaded onto a paper sometimes in the 80’s, somewhere in France, I suppose, where Atiq Rahimi had fled to from his home in Afghanistan. And now they are with me, on my little balcony overseing central London, more than 30 years apart.

If he would have written a thousand rooms of dream and fear just for me, what would he want me to hear? Maybe that it takes only an instant for life to derail. And when it does, listen to the dervish’s words and hold on to yourself. Or perhaps, it is a message about strenght. The kind that makes Mahnaz, and his mother keep calm and carry on. As always, I can’t help myself from asking what happened down the road of history that made women the object of control? It is not for me though, but to his mother, and her abandoned dreams.

So what is this book about?

It is about young Fahrat, beaten up so hard by military boots, that he has awaken the djinns of long lost memories. It is about a boy who thinks he caught his father in his dreams, and now he has returned from his execution. But most of all, it is about the grizzly detail of a woman’s life in Afghanistan in the 70s.

I love this project already. The new ideas and images it brings to my perception. If you’re like me, and Afghanistan is one of those countries about which you think you know more about than you actually do, here are some extra threads for your imagination.

Atiq Rahimi, is not only a writer, but a fimmaker as well. On my have to see list is now The Patience Stone, an adaptation of one other book about the unrestrained confessions of a young women in a war torn country.

And, I just heard this Ted interview with Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan who inspires me to be better at listening, be better at peace making and makes me hope that one day I’ll visit.

Happy reading!

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