I think it is important to read about the world. To read about places, cultures, religions, histories and people. I also think that if you want to really know more about a place you should go there and talk to someone. Sometimes though we can’t just jump on a plane and fly to places like Afghanistan or Somalia and talk to people there. Which is why books are a great alternative and source of knowledge. I enjoy picking up books on women who have a story to tell.
In the Name of Honor is an account of a tragic event that paved the way for positivity and change. Mukhtar Mai is a woman in Pakistan who started a school to educate girls (and boys) in her province. Coming from a place in Pakistan where education is not seen as a priority and women are not seen as someone who needs education, she decided that girls need education, they need to speak and read properly and they need to know what is in the Koran. The Koran is written in Arabic and Arabic is not the national language or even a minority language in Pakistan. Mukhtar herself can’t even understand the national language of Pakistan which is Urdu and so in addition to not being able to understand newspapers and court rulings she also can’t read the Koran which is the basis of law in Pakistan.
Sounds like an amazing woman right? She is, but her journey to this place was not. Before she challenged the law, before she challenged the norm, and before she became a change in Pakistan she went through a horrible event.
Like many women around the world, she was used in some sort of bargain and used as reparations to an event that was a lie constructed by a powerful family in her region. She couldn’t debate or say no, and though her family tried to save her, they failed because they were not powerful players. After going through this event she was supposed to end her life, it was the traditional and expected thing to do. Instead she took a different path that many women don’t know they can take. She fought for her right as a person and as a woman and she forced judicial courts and Pakistani media to think about things that were not challenged before.
This was a very real account of situations women around the world are in and a unique path that was taken. Most women do not event know that there is another option and so I think that this book is very important for everyone to read.
To add a critique, which is hard to do about someone’s personal story, I found this book a little confusing to read at times, I felt like sometimes the order of things were a little out of sync. That being said, this is a translated novel and so things are often a little moved around in translations.
Let me know if you have read a book like this or similar and if you have any recommendations for other books that are like this one.