It's been a while since I've done a book review. This book needs to be out there.
By Shah Wali Fazli
Published by Night Publishing
Reviewed by Rebecka Vigus
November 12, 2011
Shah Wali Fazli takes you to Afghanistan. Where his main character is an Afghani Interpreter for the NATO forces stationed there. This book gives you much insight into the turmoil in Afghanistan and the reasons for being there in the first place. It is a fictionalized account of Shah Wali Fazli's own experiences as an interpreter for our forces there.
Shabir Khan, the interpreter, is torn between missing his family and a desire to help his people to prosper. His family has escaped from Afghanistan while he is there helping the soldiers and the villagers communicate. As an interpreter, Shabir is considered by the Taliban as the worst kind of traitor.
The Mullah Aslam or Mullah Dozakhi meaning from Hell, is the main Taliban chieftan in the Helmand area where Shabir works. He has been known to behead the interpreters that he captures after torturing them. He taunts Shabir that his turn is coming.
Shabir lives in fear for his life on every patrol he goes out on. He dwells on Mullah Dozakhi to the point of becoming depressed. He believes that this is the same mullah who imprisoned him in Kabal and tortured him for months. Finally his fellow interpreters and the American named Ralph who is a commander break him from this train of thought.
The book goes quickly and there is no lag in the story line. The reader becomes enmeshed in the life of Shabir and the other interpreters. The book not only tells the life of the interpreters, but also the lives of the local Afghanistan citizens. Those farmers and villagers who are threatened in the night by Mullah Dozakhi and his band of thugs that if they don’t provide food, money, and their sons they will be killed.
Mullah Dozakhi and his gang of thieves do not believe in education or anything that speaks of a modern world. They are truly the left over nineteenth century warlords. Their power is in striking fear in the farmers and villagers. They plunder and take what they want. They care not who they kill and use propaganda to blame the Americans.
For me the book was more than just a story. It was an education into why we have men and women risking their lives in Afghanistan. I had believed Afghanistan was a mountainous region. I missed that it is also desert and that farmers have irrigated the valleys to make them lush with crops. While they are not wealthy farmers they work to provide for their families. They wish their children to attend school and get medical care. All of these are things the Taliban would deny them.
If you are looking for a powerful book, this is one I would highly recommend you read. It has many messages. It also helps create understanding.