Monday, December 2, 2013

An American Bride in Kabul

An American Bride in Kabul
By Phyllis Chesler

"A renowned psychotherapist's richly compelling memoir about how her experiences as an Afghan man's wife shaped her as both a feminist and human rights activist... Intelligent, powerful and timely." --Kirkus Reviews

An American Bride in Kabul is a personal memoir by best-selling author and professor of psychology, Phyllis Chesler - a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn - embarking on a Middle Eastern adventure that has lasted for more than a half century. Her journey chronicles a revealing history of central Muslim Asia and the Jews of Afghanistan, the Islamic Veil, gender and religious apartheid, and how such practices - burqas, polygamy, first-cousin marriage, and honor killing - have invaded the West by those who perpetrated 9/11 - the terrorist attack planned in Afghanistan.

Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler arrived in Kabul in 1961 with her westernized Afghan-American bridegroom. Immediately upon arrival, authorities took away her U.S. passport. Chesler became the property of her husband's family and had no rights of citizenship. Her husband - a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country - reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family's attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth. Chesler nearly died there; but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women's rights throughout the world. 

"Afghanistan and its people seem to have followed me into the future and right into the West. Niqab (face masks) and burqas (both of which I oppose) are here in America, on the streets and in the headlines. Afghanistan has landed in the West and the West is still deployed in Afghanistan.  It is the country where I was once held hostage and the country which sheltered Bin Laden as he hatched his 9/11 plot in a cave. Now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by Al-Qaeda and other Jihadists. An eerie coincidence." 

In An American Bride in Kabul you will learn:
  • that living in a domestic harem is nothing like living in a Hollywood-inspired brothel;
  • what it's like to live in a polygamous household;
  • about Muslims who are also fighting for women's rights and against Islamism, totalitarianism, terrorism, and gender and religious apartheid;
  • how Afghanistan and Muslim-majority countries are places where anti-infidel hatred, misogyny and violence are indigenous, pandemic, and considered normal; and
  • how 9/11 changed the direction of my book and all I learned about what America and the West are up against in Afghanistan, during a time of radical militant Islam.  
Chesler sees her time in Afghanistan as a great experience that opened her eyes to the plight of women and independent thinkers in restrictive cultures around the world. In the years since her story took place, Chesler has become a bestselling author and an expert on acts of violence perpetrated against women, especially the honor killings so often seen among Muslims in the West and in Muslim-majority countries, and among Hindus in India. She is now a strong advocate for Israel, America, and Western values. Her passion for social, educational and political reform defines the woman she is today, one whose clarity was forged in the fire of Afghanistan.

About the author: Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York, the best-selling author of 15 books, and psychotherapist. Chesler has lectured and organized women's rights and human rights campaigns all over the world and has also appeared on numerous national and international media outlets. Her writings have been featured in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The Times of London, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Israel National News, The New York Times, and in the Jewish and Israeli media.

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