Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Kite Runner..........

In almost every facit of everyday life we all encounter some for or another of propaganda. Wether its a bilboard advertising McDonalds as the best burger or even the tabloids saying that Terrell Owens tried to kill himself, propaganda is every where. Books are no different, people can write books to make you belive anything that they want you too, especially if its written well enough. The novel The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini is a perfect example of a book containing propaganda, yet I feel that it is good and not bad propaganda.

I feel that this book has alot of ties with September 11th. After the bombings of the world trade center the whole world of Islam was thrown under a microscope. The focus became on finding the leader of a terrorist group, theTaliban, Osama Bin Laden who had been responsable for the attacks. From there, then everyone started looking toward the middle east and a specific country that was harbering Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, Afganistan. Soon after that the United States moved in and has since been in a war " against terrorism", fighting against the Taliban in Afganistan. I don't know about anyone else but until September 11th I had never heard of the Taliban, or terroist, and I didn't even know where Afganistan was. Yet soon after I just came to the conclusion that all Middle Eastern people practiced Islam and that they hatted all Americans. I know that now to not be completly true but thats what we were taught and shown by the propaganda here in the United States.

Here is where I feel that the Kite Runner is a great book, that uses good propaganda to get its message across. The Kite Runner is a story about a young boy named Amir and his best friend Hassan. The book goes though a flash-back type form where Amir is telling the story as he remebers it happening. Thoughout the novel Amir has to deal with the fact that he never met his mother, the unacceptance that his father has for him, his religion, and the horrible guilt that he holds inside him for allowing his bestfriend Hassan to be rapped and then framded for stealing. While reading the book I realized that there was an underlying theme that I was missing. Hosseini was painting a picture of what Afganistan was like before, during, and after the Russian or Soviet invasion during the 1980's. Early in his childhood Amir describes Afganistan as a nice, quite, and easy place to live and grow up. There is no mention of Taliban leaders or people wanting to bomb America. Later on in the story as the invasion by the Soviets begins you strat to see a change in the way people act. A group of men form a group to rebel agaisnt the Soviets. That group turns out to become the start of the Taliban. Then fastforwarding to the present day you can see the Afganistan that we all know today, poor, curupt and run by the Taliban which gained power after the Soviets left.

Another aspect that Hosseini incorperates that I like was describing the two different forms of Islam. For me and alot of people, I didn't know that there were different types of Islam and different ways to practice and worship that religion. The author in a way kind of hints that like Christianity, there are many different religions under the same sect. And with thoses religions comes different ways to practice and worship. For example, my friend is Catholic and I'm Baptist. When I went to one of his churches masses i realized that it was completly different yet we both gave thanks and praise to Jesus. The same thing goes for Amir who is Sunni and his friend Hassan who is a Shi'a. This difference in religion though is a major factor in the story. It is this reason that Hassan gets harrased and why he is Amirs' servent.

The story goes on to where after Amir has Hassan fired because he can not confront him, and him and his father flee the oncoming invasion by moving to the United States to live out their lives. While living in the states Amir is faced everyday with the guilt of what he did to his friend, by not helping him and then getting him fired all because he wanted to gain favor from his fahther for once in his life, he questions wether or not he made the right descison. Then one day he gets a call from his fathers old friend that he must come back and pay his debt to Hassan, so Amir takes a trip back to his homeland. There he finds Hassans orphanded son and has to rescue him from Assef, the bully from when Amir was younger, who is a Talib. In the fight Amir is saved by Sohrab and his sling shot. After bringing Sohrab to the states to live with him, Amir has a hard time getting the young boy to get out of his shell. Yet at the end of the book, Sohrab finally opens up after a kite flying contets. Just like the one that Amir one back home all thoes years ago.

All in all I felt that the Kite Runner was a great book. After reading it my view of the Afagnistan people and their culture of Islam greatly changed. I never knew that before the Russians invaded that it was a nicer happier place without all the poverty and extremist I see today. I alos never knew that there were different sects of Islam and that not all people who practice it are bent on holy war. I know have more of an open mind toward the issues in the middle east. So like I said before, the Kite Runner is a great use of GOOD propaganda to open peoples eyes to what its is really like over there and to not be soo judgement in a time shortly after September 11th where we were all ready to fire on the first thing that resembled the Middle East. Good job Mr. Hosseini.


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