Saturday, April 17, 2010


Ayaan Hirsi Ali
While there may be certain drawbacks to no longer being a full-time student, one of the things I've been enjoying recently is the guilt-free pleasure reading. While it may seem odd to some of you that Infidel would be pleasure reading for me, those of you who know me well are not at all surprised.

I'm not sure exactly what I expected in retrospect, but this book shook me to the core. At times I agreed, and others dissented, but was glad for the insight into Ayaan Hirsi Ali's remarkable life story. While I understand that her experience may not necessarily be representative of the whole, many things struck me throughout the course of the book, and I think that may have something to do with some of the life changes I am currently experiencing and the society and religion wherein I operate.

Overall, two passages have stayed with me in the week since I finished reading it. The first was her account of she and her sister's circumcisions, which happened against the will of her parents and in quasi-secret. I am a rather stoic person while reading books, but at this point I wept. Too personal to recount, I leave you to experience it.

The second passage is condensable into a single quote, which is perhaps a good summary of how I feel about the plea to protect people from hearing about the atrocities that occur to women, domestically and abroad. The context is Ayaan speaking about the consequences she faced and faces as a result of discussing openly and frankly her life and concerns for her fellow women. It reads as follows:
People ask me if I have some kind of death wish, to keep saying the things I do. The answer is no: I would like to keep living. However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.[emphasis added]
While I would caution readers to expect a difficult read in terms of some subject matter and values and beliefs that may challenge their own, I take encouragement from this statement in what I hope will be my life's work - making sure that women's voices are heard, that their difficult testimonies are not borne in vain, and that I will not allow myself to become an accomplice to injustice.

1 comment:

Loga'Abdullah said...

Although it is from last year, I think you may find this book review useful. I come from a Muslim perspective and review her works. The link is here ... it is good to hear other opinions and ideas.

Hope you find it interesting.