The political discourse and historical tragedies that affect a country can cause turmoil in the lives of the citizens that reside there. The people of Afghanistan have been forced to cope with the chaos of their country which has left them traumatized and inconvenienced. In the novel, The Kite Runner, each character has their lives drastically changed as the events of Afghanistan’s past world issues create hardship, grief, and difference for the lives of Amir, Sohrab and Farid.
The first character that has been affected by Afghanistan’s world issues is Amir; throughout the novel he has been faced with forced relocation caused by the Afghan-Soviet War and intense emotional and physical trauma caused by the Taliban. During the Russian Invasion, Amir and his father are forced to relocate to America due to the intense warfare that is threatening the peace of Kabul, Afghanistan. In America, Amir is able to assimilate into western culture with ease. His life in America becomes relatively better when compared to his life in Afghanistan. In Amir’s words, “…
America was a place to bury my memories. ” (Hosseini, 136), The memories of his life in Afghanistan become faded as he focuses on his own life. He graduates high school and college and lives out his dream of becoming a published author. The guilt that has been haunting Amir since childhood still resonates in his mind from time to time. America becomes Amir’s mental saviour as it acts as a buffer between the past and the present. As the political tragedies continue, Amir is called back to Afghanistan by Rahim Khan. Rahim Khan informs Amir of true his relationship with Hassan and his son, Sohrab.
He tells about Hassan’s execution and Sohrab’s abduction. As an act of redemption, Amir travels to Ghazi Stadium in search of Sohrab. At Ghazi Stadium, Amir is witness to a public execution and describes the screams of the victim, “I will never, as long as I draw breath, forget the sound of that scream. It was the cry of a wild animal trying to pry its mangled leg free from the bear trap. (Hosseini, 282). The screams of terror that resonate inside Amir’s head begin to create disgust and distress. This is the realization of how much Afghanistan has changed on the account of the Taliban.
They have turned the gore of execution into a spectacle to be marveled. The Taliban have successfully turned Afghanistan into a corrupt oligarchy ruled by islamic extremist. After the execution, Amir travels to a big house in Wazir Akbar Khan where islamic extremist have taken shelter. Amir travels inside in search for Sohrab. He encounters a Taliban official who is later revealed to be his archenemy, Assef. It is revealed that Assef has been using Sohrab as a sex slave and in order for Amir to rescue Sohrab from the clutches of the Taliban, he must fight.
Amir describes his actions of the fight, “That was the first time I’d fought anyone. I had never thrown a punch in my entire life. ” (Hosseini, 302). The battle was fierce; it was a true conflict between good and evil. Although it was one sided, Amir begins to laugh. Amir believes that the injuries that is being inflicted upon him is rightful justice. He finds pleasure in his pain and subsequently deems it as punishment for his past actions. At the end of the battle, Amir walks away with ruptured organs, cracked ribs, a broken jaw, and Sohrab.
The second person that has been affected by Afghanistan’s world issues is Sohrab, Amir’s nephew. His father and mother were murdered by the Taliban and he has been subjected to sexual abuse from Taliban officials; He attempts suicide after being rescued by Amir due to the chance that he would have to go back to the orphanage he was kidnapped from. Sohrab has been violently abused and traumatized throughout most of his life. His parents were murdered and he became an orphan. In Rahim Khan’s words, “”No. God, no. “–and shot him in the back of the head’ –Farzana came screaming and attacked them–”No. ”–shot her too. (Hosseini 231).
After the Taliban took control over Afghanistan, they went on a brutal massacre killing any civilian that moved or caught attention. His father, Hassan, and his mother, Farzana were murdered by the Taliban in front of their house. Hassan was shot execution-style at the back of the head; Farzana was shot dead running after her husband. The emotional trauma of losing both parents due to the political uprising of the Taliban was a traumatizing incident that would later become a pivotal factor in Sohrab’s life. After his parent’s murder, Sohrab was moved to an orphanage that was run by Zaman, the orphanage director.
Afghan orphanages are subjected to unsafe and dangerous conditions caused by the Taliban and widespread poverty. The Taliban abuses the initial purpose of an orphanage and uses it as a personal trading center. They offer money in exchange for children and those children will inevitably be subjected to sexually abuse. In Sohrab’s own words, he describes what the Taliban have done to him, “I’m so dirty and full of sin. ” (Hosseini, 335) Sohrab was taken from the orphanage by the Taliban official; he was turned into a sex slave and became a repeated victim of sexual abuse.
He was traded by the orphanage director in exchange for the safety of the other children. Sohrab became a toy in which the Taliban used him for sexual release and enjoyment. After Sohrab is rescued from the Taliban base in Wazir Akbar Khan, he stays with Amir in an apartment. Amir makes a promise to Sohrab stating that he would never have to back to the orphanage and his life would begin anew in America. Due to some legal complications, Amir must go back on his word. “No it’s not. Not that place. God, oh God. Please, no! ” (Hosseini, 359) Sohrab is devastated and tries to kill himself as an attempt to escape.
During Sohrab’s stay at the orphanage, he was faced with poverty and injustice. This extreme cathartic release is a reaction to the horrible mistreatment caused by the orphanage. He was kidnapped from a life of loneliness into a life of sexual abuse and physical violence. The political and historical dilemmas continue their effect on Farid; he has been a symbol of afghan patriotism, he has fallen victim to the widespread poverty that affects Afghanistan and he has gone through emotional suffering due to the dangerous conditions that continues to pollute Afghanistan.
Farid is a symbol of afghan patriotism due to his affiliation with the Mujahideen. Amir explains that Farid was apart of the Jihad (an abbreviation of Mujahideen), “At fourteen, he and his father had joined the jihad against the Shorawi” (Hosseini 242). The Mujahideen were a group of muslim guerilla fighters that fought against the Soviet Union during the Afghan-Soviet war. Farid and his father were members of the Mujahideen and took part of the Afghanistan rebellion in 1979. His heroic act of defending his country shows true Afghan pride when considering he fought against Russian oppression.
Although Farid had fought for his country, he still falls victim to the widespread poverty that affects Afghanistan. Farid and his family live in a low ceiling small house with bare dirt walls (Hosseini, 246). Wahid, Farid’s older brother, serves Amir a meal of vegetables and bread, “Only the Taliban can afford meat now. ” (Hosseini, 250) His family cannot afford meat due to the economic restraint caused by the Taliban and are forced to eat vegetables and bread. Despite being struck with the heavy burden of poverty, Farid and his family are still able to go through life with strong hearts.
The dangerous landscape of Afghanistan has caused many deaths and injuries of it’s citizens. Farid has been victim to the dangerous landscape caused by the warfare of Afghanistan. He lost his two daughters and three of his fingers during a landmine explosion that was placed during the Afghan-Soviet war. Amir tries to reconcile with Farid in this quote, “I’m sorry about your daughters, and I’m sorry about your hand. ” (Hosseini, 245). This is a reality for the citizens of Afghanistan. The streets ravaged by hidden explosions and buildings destroyed by military combat.
Farid and his family have been abused by the harsh environment caused by military forces. These are the tragedies of Afghanistan’s political history that change the lives of the citizens forever. The events that happen in Afghanistan begin to change the characters lives and ultimately cause permanent inconvenience and difference for each character. Amir is forced to move out of Afghanistan due to the Russian invasion of 1979 and he has battled with mental and physical trauma caused by the Taliban.
Sohrab has been subjected to family loss and intense sexual maltreatment which would later on become factors relating to his attempt on taking his own life. Farid has been a symbol of Afghan patriotism through his acts done under Mujahideen; he has faced family loss and poverty that was caused by Afghanistan’s dangerous environment. The kite runner has given the reader an idea on how the political indifferences and historical landscape of a country can become pivotal factor in someone’s life