I. Siba Shakib, Gender and Women Issues in her Works
This research paper explores the issue of gender identity crisis on the basis of Siba Shakib’s novel Samira and Samir. In this novel, by setting the landscape of Afghanistan’s community, where tribal wars are very common, Shakib illustrates the condition in which women are forced to live a different life by subverting their identity as a male and perform the role of male, which is opposite than what their sex demands. Siba Shakib is Iranian writer and film maker. She grew up in Teheran where “girls have lesser value than boys” (3). She attended a German school in Teheran where she received lessons in five religions and learnt different languages. She completed her higher education in Germany, mainly at the University of Heidelberg. She traveled to many countries for work, but her attention became more and more concentrated on the war-torn Afghanistan where she worked before and during the command and terror of the Taliban. Several of her documentaries show the horrors of life in Afghanistan and the plight of Afghan women in particular.
Shakib uses underprivileged women characters mostly in her films, novels and documentaries. She raises these characters from war-torn Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, where women have lesser values and marginalized roles to play. Moreover, she goes on depicting some issues of the invasion of Russia against Afghanistan and also about the terror of the Taliban. She narrates the left over and masked stories of women. Before writing her first novel, Shakib was a music journalist and a radio presenter. As she observed the plight of women when she traveled to warn-torn countries, she often offered her own political observation and commentary during the interviews. She has well noticed the role of women in Islamic society, where most of women have become a mere subordinate thing in the eyes of patriarchy. She witnesses that woman identity has remained under the mercy of patriarchy. Although some Muslim countries have granted some of women’s rights including right to equality, right to divorce, right to property and inheritance etc. but most of the Muslim nations are following the same old, extremist Islam. In most of the Islamic countries, Sharia law is strictly enforced, and women are denied education and have to wear veil and serve men. Shakib’s international bestseller, Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes to Weep, tells the story of a suffering girl through which she draws the attention of the world to the plight of Afghan women. This book represents the story of many Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban regime. The book is set against the Russian invasion and the emergence of the American funded resistance during which woman struggle to face day-to-day living in the war-torn capital of Kabul. It tells of a woman’s suffering due to her husband’s opium addiction, tragic consequences of rape on her, enforced prostitution of her to feed a growing family, and her attempt to commit suicide. At the same time, Sakib highlights women’s great courage and determination, human kindness, female friendship, resistance to oppression and a constant search for a better life where her children have a chance for better future without poverty and fear. In her second book Samira and Samir, she tells the extraordinary story of a young Afghan girl following her heart in a man’s world in a tribal community of mountainous region of Afghanistan, just after the Russian invasion against Afghanistan. In this novel, she draws attention to the distressing situation of Afghan women. It is a story of a woman who finds her own path of life. This tale of love and courage, and of a remarkable woman who finds her path in life, gives a remarkable insight into the extraordinary lives in Afghanistan behind the headlines. The entire novel could be told as picturing the identity crisis of a woman who had to live behind a mask forgetting herself and her...
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