Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan made educated and independent women prisoners in their own households. Aside from grave human rights abuses, the Taliban also created an immediate practical problem for thousands of women who could no longer work to support their families. One Kabul woman, Kamela Sediqui, tacked the problem by creating her own sewing business. When the Taliban came to power Kamela Sediqui was a student who traveled independently around Kabul and who was looking forward to a career. But Taliban occupation led Kamela's parents to flee to the countryside, and left the Sediqui sisters to try and support the family from the confines of their home. Kamela lacked sewing skills, but she saw a need for stylish women's clothes that fit within Taliban restrictions. This small enterprise grew into a veritable workshop that employed numerous girls in the neighborhood. This is certainly an inspiring story. Kamela's business was fraught with danger. She and her employees constantly risked being caught by the Taliban. I learned quite a bit about Kabul before the rise of the Taliban, and it made the regime's corruption all the more striking.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (Harper, 2011) ISBN: 

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