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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Khaled Hosseini (Hor-say-nee) 1965 was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His mother was a teacher and his father a diplomat.

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Presentation on theme: "The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Khaled Hosseini (Hor-say-nee) 1965 was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His mother was a teacher and his father a diplomat."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

2 Khaled Hosseini (Hor-say-nee) 1965 was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His mother was a teacher and his father a diplomat. 1976 his father was posted to Paris, France and the family moved there till 1980, when at the age of 15, his family sought asylum in the USA, due to the Communist coup in Afghanistan. Having lost all their property in Afghanistan, they lived on welfare and food stamps while Hosseini's father worked multiple jobs to become financially stable. Graduated in medicine and is a practising doctor. He now lives in Fremont, California, with his wife and two children. His second book is called, A Thousand Splendid Suns. About the author

3 Is it autobiographical? Hosseini states: ‘The story line of my novel is largely fictional. The characters were invented and the plot imagined. However, there certainly are, as is always the case with fiction, autobiographical elements woven through the narrative. Probably the passages most resembling my own life are the ones in the US, with Amir and Baba trying to build a new life. I, too, came to the US as an immigrant and I recall vividly those first few years in California, the brief time we spent on welfare, and the difficult task of assimilating into a new culture. My father and I did work for a while at the flea market and there really are rows of Afghans working there, some of whom I am related to.’


5 Hosseini ‘wanted to write about Afghanistan before the Soviet war because that is largely a forgotten period in modern Afghan history’. ‘For many people in the west, Afghanistan is synonymous with the Soviet war and the Taliban.’ He explains: ‘I wanted to remind people that Afghans had managed to live in peaceful anonymity for decades, that the history of the Afghans in the twentieth century has been largely peaceful and harmonious.’

6 Kabul before the war

7 Hosseini has ‘very fond memories of childhood in Afghanistan, largely because [his] memories, unlike those of the current generation of Afghans, are untainted by the spectre of was, landmines, and famine.’ He has fond memories of kite fighting in the winter time, Westerns with John Wayne at Cinema Park, big parties at home in Wazir Akbar Khan, picnics in Paghman.

8 His inspiration for the text Relationships: When Khaled was young (in grade three), he taught the family’s Hazara cook to read and write. Memories: Fond recollections of pre-Soviet era childhood in Afghanistan. Literature: Persian stories and poems, characters and themes presented in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

9 The Setting Afghanistan Terrain – rocky and dry, mountainous in the central part of the country

10 Where is Afghanistan?


12 Afghanistan on the world map

13 Climate – hot summers, cold winters Geography – land locked completely; borders Iran, Pakistan, China Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikstan USA- 1980’s Fremont California

14 Introduction to Afghanistan An ethnically (nationalities) diverse country. As of July 2007, there are approx. 32 million people estimated to live in Afghanistan. Pashtu and Dari are considered the official languages of Afghanistan and are spoken by 85% of the people. there are 8 major ethnic groups in Afghanistan 30 other minor languages are also spoken in Afghanistan.

15 Introduction to Afghanistan About 99% of the population is Muslim (a person who follows the Islamic faith). Of these Muslims, 84% belong to the Sunni sect. There has been a long history of an ethnic hierarchy within Afghanistan. It has created imbalances in wealth, influence and education within its society. Traditionally Pashtuns have dominated the country because they are the presumed majority of the population. As a result, many of the other ethnic groups have not had a strong voice within the society.

16 Ethnic Population in Afghanistan Pashtun 44% Tajik 25% Minor ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkman, Baloch) 13% Hazara 10% Uzbek 8 %

17 Ethnic groups Pashtuns: – Prior to the 1979 Soviet invasion they were the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. (Many left Afghanistan as refugees, to live in Pakistan when the Soviets invaded) – Occupied most top and middle level positions in Afghanistan’s civil and military hierarchies – Pashtu is their native language – Consist mainly of Sunni Muslims

18 Ethnic groups Tajiks – 25% of population – Second largest ethnic group – Identified with agriculture and town life – Mainly inhabit the fertile eastern valleys – A group that is considered to have low income and like many Hazaras, they are not the highest on the social ladder. However there are Tajiks that are successful and important members of the government.

19 Hazaras 10% of Afghanistan’s populatioin Reside in the mountainous regions called ‘Hazarajat’ Decendents of Genghis Khan, who invaded Afghanistan in the 13 th Centuary. Thus they are seen as ‘invaders’ and not true Afghanis Most Haxaras are Shi’ite Muslims Considered to be on the lower socio-economic scale: servants, farmers In 1997 the Taliban cut off access roads out of Hazarajat in an attempt to starve them to death In 1998 many were killed by the Taliban Have distinct physical features; round face, broad nose and light coloured almond shaped eyes. (p 3, 8)

20 Hazara protest in Sydney

21 Historical events 1919-1929 - Afghanistan regains independence after third war against British forces trying to colonise it. King Amanullah established diplomatic relations with most major countries and modernised Afghanistan. This was controversial, and alienated many tribal and religious leaders. He was forced to abdicate in January 1929. Some of the things he changed were: Abolishing the traditional Muslim veil for women, opening co-educational schools 1953 – General Mohammed Daoud becomes prime minister. Turns to Soviet Union for economic and military assistance. 1973-Daoud then seized power in a military coup on July 17, 1973. He abolished the monarchy and declared Afghanistan a republic with himself as the first President and Prime Minister. He attempted to carry out badly needed economic and social reforms, however, he had little success.

22 Historical events 1978 – General Daud is overthrown and killed in a coup by leftist People’s Democratic Party (Communists). 1979 – Power struggle between leftist leaders, Hafizullah Amin and Nur Mohammed Taraki. Amin won. Soviet Union sends in troops to help remove Amin, who is executed. An estimated 14,500 Soviet lives, and 1,000,000 Afghan lives were lost between 1979 and the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

23 Historical events 1980 – Babrak Karmal, leader of the People’s Democratic Party Parcham faction is installed as ruler backed by Soviet troops. Various Mujahedin troops fight Soviet forces. US, Pakistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia supply money and arms to Afghanistan. 1986 – US begins supplying Mujahedin with Stinger missiles, enabling them to shoot down Soviet helicopter gunships. Babrak Karmal replaced by Najibullah. 1988 – Afghanistan, USSR, US and Pakistan sign peace accords and Soviet Union begins pulling out troops.

24 Historical events 1989 – Last Soviet troops leave, but civil war continues as Mujahadin push to overthrow Najibullah. After the Soviet withdrawal, the country was left in anarchy. A warlord situation arose, which left the country politically unstable. The Taliban took advantage of this situation and rose to power in the mid 1990s. 1991 – US and USSR agree to end military aid to both sides. Mujahadin triumph. 1992 – Rival militias vie for influence. 1993 – Mujahideen factions agree on formation of government with ethnic Tajik, Burhanuddin Rabbani, proclaimed president.

25 Historical events 1994 – civil war continue. Pashtun-dominated Taliban emerge as a major challenge to the Rabbani government. 1996 – Taliban seize control of Kabul and introduce hard-line version of Islam. Rabbani flees to join anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. 1997 – Civil war between Taliban and Northern Alliance breaks out. By the end of the year the Taliban controlled 90% of Afghanistan. Taliban recognized as legitimate rulers by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Most other countries continue to regard Rabbani as head of state.

26 Historical events The Taliban imposed an extreme interpretation of Islam throughout the whole country. This was based on the rural Pashtun tribal code. They committed massive human rights violations, particularly against women and girls, and minority populations (killed 4000 Shi’a Hazara ethnic group). In 2001, as part of the drive against relics of pre- Islamic Afghanistan, the Taliban destroyed two huge Buddha statues carved into a cliff face outside of the city of Bamiyan.

27 Remains of the Buddha statues

28 Historical events 1999 – United Nations imposes an air embargo and financial sanctions to force Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden for trial (he had bombed US embassies in Africa in 1998). 2001 – September 11 – Taliban attacks on USA 2001 – October 7 – US and Britain launch air strikes against Afghanistan after Taliban refuse to hand over Osama bin Laden. ‘War on terror’ begins.

29 Current government 2004- after the fall of the Taliban, a new Afghan constitution was adopted and in the November 2004 election, Hamid Karzai was elected President with more than 50% of the popular vote. 2011- USA troops kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

30 Afghanistan today It ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world Average life expectance is only 46 years; child mortality rates are 1 in 6 Capital city Kabul is in ruins Diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria wreak havoc Inadequate medical services Problems are exacerbated by landmines No significant industry and commercial activity Many have left as refugees and as a result it lacks skills workers, Poor education system, not enough trained teachers and resources Roads, transport, power and public services are unreliable and inadequate

31 Who is the Taliban? Gained strength in 1995 Formed by Sunni Muslim Pashtun students, intellectuals and disaffected Mujaheddin (holy warriors) Trained in Pakistan fundamentalists, committed to ‘Sharia Law’ (the traditional Islamic law and moral code that prescribes how Muslims should best conduct their lives).

32 The Taliban (Talib is Arabic for ‘Islamic student’) Under the Taliban’s rule, human rights and civil liberties were slowly peeled away. The Taliban instituted cruel and inhumane treatment of those who opposed them in order to solidify their power over Afghanistan’s citizens.

33 Taliban Rules for Women May not work outside the home. May not participate in any activity outside the home unless accompanied by her husband or male relative (no shopping, walking…) May not be treated by male doctor. May not study at any institutions, including schools and universities. Must wear the long veil (burqa) which covers them from head to toe. If found guilty of adultery, will be publically stoned to death. May not laugh loudly – no stranger should hear a woman’s voice. May not wear high heels – no man should hear a woman’s footsteps.

34 Taliban Rules for Everyone No one can listen to music. No one can watch television, movies or videos. No citizen can have a non-Islamic name. Men may not shave or trim their beards. No one may fly kites. In any sporting event, no one may clap. Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed. No burying of anyone who was killed by the Taliban. Bodies must remain in the streets as examples to other ‘wrongdoers’.

35 Kabul before and after the Taliban

36 How does it relate? In the beginning (chapters 1-4) of The Kite Runner, the monarchy is still in place and the country is relatively calm. However, chaos starts to erupt as the king is overthrown by his brother (chapter 5). In the second half of The Kite Runner, the Taliban is in power, creating a much more volatile and dangerous Afghanistan.

37 Islam A religion based on the interpretations of God’s word by the prophet Muhammad found in the Qu’ran (sometimes spelled Koran) Followers of Islam, Muslims, are devoted to daily prayer (five times a day facing Mecca, the holy city). Islam is divided into two denominations, Shia and Sunni.

38 Divisions of Islam Sunnis and Shi’a Muslims: what is the difference? Because of the differing views of these two groups, they maintain a rather tense and hostile relationship. The Pashtun (majority) are typically Sunni, and the Hazara (minority) are typically Shia. Thus, the racial differences are compounded by the religious differences.

39 Religious composition is: Sunni Muslims 84% Shi’a Muslims 15% Others (Jewish, Hindu, Sikh) 1%

40 What does a harelip (cleft lip) look like? (Hassan was born with a cleft lip p 3)

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