Stereotypes in Middle East

A Thousand Splendid suns takes place in war ravaged Afghanistan throughout different time periods of battle and governmental change. Through the last decades of war in the Middle East many myths and misconceptions have been formed by the Westerners. Two thousand years of statues are destroyed by the Taliban to show their power over the people and to ingrain that their history means nothing. Years of stereotypes make Islam seem like a religion of destruction and violence.The events of September 11 , 2001 supported that the opinion that Islam is a religion of destruction. Not all Muslims are violent but the US thinks differently.

When the Taliban took over they wanted to show their power to the people. [“”They had chanted Allah u akbar with each blast, cheered every time the statues lost an arm or leg in crumbling cloud of dust.””](Hosseini 187) They destroyed statues with explosions to show their power and intimidate the people. The US thinks that this is going on everywhere throughout the Middle East which is only half true. Not every country is war ravaged like Afghanistan. Still all countries are affected by the inhumane way the citizens are treated. Across the Middle East citizens are in danger with war and innocent people are dying. The US tries to help them and fight for what is right. Some of the US thinks that all of the Muslims are with terrorists and want to help them. It’s quite the opposite actually, citizens are scared and afraid what will happen next.

When Osama bin laden died it was viewed as victory in Afghanistan and people viewed him as a celebrity. Different citizens reacted differently to the events of 9/11. The Taliban celebrated the event and citizens mourned for the US. When the Taliban wanted to expand their power and show their power they did something that would change the world “”The TV is tuned to BBC. On the screen is a building, a tower, black smoke billowing from its top floors. Tariq says something to Sayeed and Sayeed is in mid reply when a plane appears from the corner of the screen. It crashes into the adjacent tower, exploding into a fireball that dwarfs any ball of fire that Laila has ever seen””(Hosseini 231)When September 11th happened that was the start of years stereotypes and people viewing Islam a religion of violence. It showed the world was going on over in the Middle East and what had to be done.

The Taliban just wanted the citizens to view them as superiors and only worship Islam.””The university was shut down and its students sent home. Paintings were ripped from walls, shredded with blades. Television screens were kicked in. Books, except the Koran, were burned in heaps, the stores that sold them closed down.””(Hosseini 168) Women especially were treated like absolute unequals.The Taliban destroyed years of culture and didn’t want the citizens to learn anything. Women actually held positions in government and had well paying jobs. Kabul was thriving with education and great things going on. Girls were starting to get a better education and becoming more independent. After the Taliban took over they shut down girls school and told women to go home. In America we take for granted that anyone can be anything. Women have equal rights and paid the same. The Middle East is still struggling to fix their countries. Women have been pushed around by men in Afghanistan and other countries. An example is Rasheed and Mariam, Rasheed is abusive and violent which is a stereotype of men in the Middle East. In A Thousand Splendid Suns there is a character named Fariba and her husband Hakim. Hakim lets Fariba express herself and wear the clothes she wants. Most women wore burqa because it was tradition and their husbands enforced it. This is an example of women having freedom in the Middle East and breaking stereotypes.

Through years of war in the Middle East Westerners different opinions have been formed. Terrorists bombings and war made Afghanistan a place of war. The terrorists shout in the name of Allah as they kill themselves making people believe Islam is a religion of violence. Through years of war and government conflict the Middle East is a complicated region.

References:

Hosseini, Khaled, et al. A Thousand Splendid Suns. GradeSaver, 2008

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