The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything To Keep Them Safe
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything To Keep Them Safe. Harper: HarperCollins. Mar. 2011. c.288p. bibliog. ISBN 9780061732379. $24.99. BIOG
Journalist Lemmon (deputy director, Women & Foreign Policy Prog., Council on Foreign Relations) tells the moving story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young woman in Kabul, Afghanistan, who, out of desperation, started a successful dressmaking business to support her family and other destitute women during the repressive Taliban regime. Lemmon encountered Kamila in 2005 when Lemmon was on assignment for the Financial Times. Through Kamila's story, Lemmon captures the lives of women after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996. She rejects characterizing Afghan women as victims of war and instead demonstrates how women, particularly entrepreneurial women, actively resisted gender oppression. Kamila's story ends on a positive note with the fall of the Taliban regime after the American presence in Afghanistan; her impressive yet furtive enterprise later received recognition from such figures as Condoleezza Rice. Given the continued conflict in Afghanistan under foreign occupation, curious readers may want to know more about the current struggles of Afghan women.
VERDICT A revealing work that contributes to the literature on women under Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
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