My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story

Registered by mellion108 of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan USA on 6/10/2005
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22 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by mellion108 from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan USA on Friday, June 10, 2005
This is one of the more disturbing books I've ever read. Latifa (not her real name) takes us through her life growing up in Afghanistan.

These are the stories that need to be heard. Stories of average people experiencing extraordinary circumstances. Latifa and her friends were normal teens--they liked music, books, and movies, and they had dreams of college, careers, and families of their own. The atrocities committed by the Taliban are made even more frightening by Latifa's account in this book. The rapes, torture, and complete illogical handing down of decrees that make no sense are almost beyond my ability to comprehend.

I was very moved by this, and I want to share. I hope to be able to send it out on a bookray.
4 unabridged cassettes; approximately 6 hours

From the cover:
From 1997 to 2001, sixteen-year-old Latifa was a prisoner in her own home as the Taliban wreaked havoc on the lives of Afghan girls and women. Latifa's life was turned upside down the moment the Taliban took Kabul. The oppressive regime banned women from working, from schools, from public life, even from leaving their homes without a male relative. Female faces were outlawed as the burka, or head-to-toe veil, became mandatory.

Latifa had planned to pursue journalism, in a quest for the truth about the ever-shifting power structure in her country. From the Russians to the warring factions, Latifa's existence had been marred by violence and upheaval. But when the Taliban took over, her world was reduced to the few rooms of her apartment. Like a contemporary Anne Frank, Latifa was forced to observe, absorb, and make sense of what was happening to women, to her country, from the confines of her four walls.

In May 2001, Latifa and her parents escaped through dangerous Taliban territory to Pakistan, then Paris. After several weeks, their flight was discovered, and the government issued a fatwa against them.

Written during her exile, this book is an extraordinarily powerful account of a teenager's life under terrible circumstances and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.

Journal Entry 2 by mellion108 from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan USA on Sunday, June 12, 2005
Mailing order for this audio bookray:
Thanks to all who participated!

Journal Entry 3 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 22, 2005
My Forbidden Face arrived today and I will get started on it tomorrow afternoon.

Journal Entry 4 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I'm on tape one of this engrossing and devastating book. I know little of the life these women, children and men lived under before the Taliban take-over and am finding it quite eye-opening. I incorrectly assumed women had been forced, for decades, to live hidden beneath a veil and led very restricted lives. I was surprised to learn that that was not at all the case. Despite living in a war-torn country they still had many of the freedoms and pleasures we enjoy here in the US. To see it all so brutally ripped away over night makes it all the more horrifying.

Journal Entry 5 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I'm very glad I listened to this audiobook because as grueling and painful as it was to relive these events through Latifa's words it opened my eyes to a world never shown on the news blurbs we are force fed and gives a real face to the victims of terrorism. My only minor complaint was the way Latifa not-so-gently jumped around in time when telling her story which left me sometimes confused, a little bit of editing could've easily smoothed this out.

I am amazed that this young girl managed to continue on and bravely defy all of the new rules by creating hope for the younger children in a world turned upside down. Thanks for sharing. I'm sending off to gnissorcknoob tomorrow.

Journal Entry 6 by BarkLessWagMore at Bookring in n/a, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (7/7/2005 UTC) at Bookring in n/a, Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Off to gnissorcknoob.

Journal Entry 7 by gnissorckoob from Miami, Florida USA on Sunday, July 17, 2005
It's here. I just returned from vacation and picked up my mail. I will listen to it right away so that it can continue on its way. Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 8 by gnissorckoob from Miami, Florida USA on Monday, July 18, 2005
Finished it tonight. Thank you for starting the bookray, mellion. This is definitely an audio that should continue to be heard. There are several images in the book that I will not soon forget.

I think Latifa's most salient point was the importance of world opinion. Those of us who live in comfort and freedom should not turn our backs on the human rights of others and forget about them. I have several friends/acquaintances who have had experiences similar to hers; after hearing their stories, the least I can do is to support Amnesty International.

Latifa (and presumably other Afghanis) wanted a peaceful resolution to the Taliban's totalitarianism. Maybe this would have been possible if world politics had been different. We'll never know.

On the personal side, the justaposition of horror with everyday matters that are "human nature" was interesting. Would you risk your life for a glimpse of Leonardo Dicaprio? Here, I was reminded of Anne Frank's diary. At least Latifa's future is much brighter than Anne experienced.

Link to a review by Anuradha Roy, who apparently was underwhelmed by the book.

[Hmm. I thought the above-mentioned review was by one of my heroes, Arundhati Roy. But the reviewer is a different person. Moral: Be careful what you assume on the internet.]

Mailed to next listener, amoebastar, on 7/19/05.




Journal Entry 9 by YDO-379482 on Saturday, July 23, 2005
Caught as part of a ring. I must finish about 50 pages of one bookray book before I can listen. Cheers!

Journal Entry 10 by YDO-379482 at N/A in ***, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, July 31, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (7/30/2005 UTC) at N/A in ***, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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Mailed off to sqdancer on 6.30.05.

You know, after listening to a tape of this book, I realized that I actually already read this book just after it came out. I really found it interesting to listen to it retold on tape, however, and got a lot out of it. It was easy to get focused on the story and only the story.

Enjoy, sqdancer!

Journal Entry 11 by sqdancer on Thursday, August 11, 2005
Arrived safe and sound - the box is slightly squished but the tapes are fine.

I will be starting this on Monday during my commute. Will make an interesting change from talk radio.


Journal Entry 12 by sqdancer on Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Wow, what a story. Not even able to own a pet? The Taliban were certainly determined to take away every possible vestige of pleasure and enjoyment from life. I don't think I would have been strong enough to live in that kind of environment.


I have PM'ed Hellie twice with no reponse. I have just posted an ISO.


Journal Entry 13 by sqdancer on Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Just received a PM from Hellie, and the tapes will be going out in the mail tomorrow by Air Mail.


Journal Entry 14 by Hellie from South Shields, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Monday, September 05, 2005
Ji, thanks for sending this on.
just started new job so r and r for next couple of nights is decided!
I'll try not to take too long.....
more when read/errr/listened to!
I have read several books about Afganistan, women and the Taliban so it will be interting to HEAR more about it.

H x

Journal Entry 15 by Hellie at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (10/13/2005 UTC) at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom

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to be passed to next person in ring - I loved this - it was beautifully read, felt honest, and was very touching. Also very educational in the sense that I learned a lot about the culture under which these women are so restricted...
Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 16 by jesmondgirl from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Thursday, October 13, 2005
Passed to me by Hellie who had spotted it on my wish list and kindly arranged for me to be squished into the ring.

Journal Entry 17 by jesmondgirl from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Thursday, November 24, 2005
I delayed starting this waiting for a long journey without my children as I feared it would be too strong for them. I was so glad I did. Some of the images of atrocities will stay with me for a long time. My children did catch little bits when we were on the way to things and it prompted an interesting conversation about what it would be like for us if the same decrees were passed. Having no sons or local male relatives we could only go out when my husband was not at work, we couldn't imagine what we would do if we had no books music films etc to occupy us. Latifa and her family were so brave to defy the regime by treating sick womem and teaching children. I could not understand at all a regime which bans women from working as doctors and in the same breath denies women the right to see a male doctor thus giving no woman any access to any form of healthcare at all. What most amazed my children was the fact that this was a contemporary account. They kept saying " was I alive then??" and I was so ashamed that they were and we in the West allowed such a thing to happen. It seemed likely that some of the detailed political analysis came more from her collaborators than Latifa but her accounts of the atrocities (even when mediated through her brothers as she could go out so little) were vivid and moving.

I shall send this off to MIRP asap


Journal Entry 18 by rem_BSM-942247 on Monday, November 28, 2005
Received today. Will start on it in the next couple of days.

Journal Entry 19 by rem_BSM-942247 on Thursday, December 08, 2005
posted yesterday 7/12/05

Journal Entry 20 by QueenSissi from Queluz, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, December 11, 2005
It has arrived. Looking forward to listening to it :)

Journal Entry 21 by QueenSissi from Queluz, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, March 19, 2006
During this last year I have read a few books about the condition of women in Islamic countries and this one and Hod came to Afghanistan and cried are my favourites.

Latifa describes beautifully the life and terror of a family I can connect with. I can imagine if tomorrow my country close down because of terror, how much we'd all be in pain.

Thanks for this chance!

Journal Entry 22 by QueenSissi from Queluz, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, March 19, 2006
BookRay - Part two:

- kizmiaz (Lisbon - Portugal)
- PedroGamaVieira (Ponta Delgada, ?)
- BOKWORMY
- Smurphie (Scotland - anywhere)

Journal Entry 23 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Got it today, will start listening to it soon. Thank you QueenSissi.

Journal Entry 24 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Tuesday, April 04, 2006
This is not a mushy book, as I first feared it would be.
I enjoyed it, not just because of the Latifa’s tale, which is the tale of women suffering under the Taliban regime (an awful time and place to be a woman in) but also for the background on the life of a screwed up country like Afghanistan.
Here is a country that only makes the news once in a while, has been buried in trouble for more than 30 years (I can hardly believe there are buildings still standing) and just can’t shake it. It seems all the powerful countries in the world want in on it, but do little or nothing to help out. Isn’t that sad?
As for the Taliban…well, as the author says most of them were from Pakistan and their goals were pretty much political… but wait a minute isn’t Pakistan a friend of Uncle Sam? Aren’t they one of the good guys? Oops, I forgot there are no good guys, are there?
The women suffering under the Taliban was terrible, but it was just another chapter in the history of a country that several empires have been trampling ever since it was created.
I think this book should be read/heard before or after Khaled Houseini’s “The Kite Runner” to get the big picture on this country.
I'll give it another hearing before sending it on, so bear with me.

Journal Entry 25 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, May 03, 2006
PedroGamaVieira asked to be skipped so I'm PMing the next in line.

Journal Entry 26 by BOKWORMY on Friday, May 12, 2006
Thanks kizmaiz just received it in the post *-)

Journal Entry 27 by BOKWORMY at on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Released 12 yrs ago (5/30/2006 UTC) at

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Very touching story! Latifa is an admirable woman (",) Makes us realize that we shouldnt take life for granted!

On the way to Smurphie............GONE!

Journal Entry 28 by smurphie from Banchory, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Has arrived safe and well. Just listening to another tape in the car so this one is next will get to it in the next couple of days.

Journal Entry 29 by smurphie from Banchory, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, June 16, 2006
This story was heartrending and what made it even worse was this is a true story and is still probably happening today.

I couldn't believe what happened to this girl and her family and who thinks like this can happen in this supposed civilised world.

I really think more people should listen to this so will offer it up as a bookray again.

Journal Entry 30 by smurphie from Banchory, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, July 02, 2006
Away to continue is Bookray journey

Going next to:-

j4neyo (UK)
Mamikaem (USA)

and then who knows...

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Continuing on it's Bookray

Journal Entry 32 by j4neyo from Whitchurch, Shropshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 12, 2006
This arrived safely a couple of days ago (many thanks to Smurphie!), but as I started listening to it in the car straightaway I haven't had the ID to journal. It's grim, but gripping listening.

Journal Entry 33 by j4neyo from Whitchurch, Shropshire United Kingdom on Saturday, July 15, 2006
An amazing story which ends just before a new and equally violent era starts in Afghanistan.


Journal Entry 34 by YellowBow from Fleet, Hampshire United Kingdom on Thursday, July 20, 2006
20th July- It has arrived today. Thanks a lot j4neyo.
It was on my wish list for sometime, I'm quite anxious to listening to it, which I'll be doing during my summer holidays. After that I'll start a BookRay or maybe a RABCK

14th August- I’ve just finished listening this audiobook, in fact I’ve listen to it twice and found it so interesting (in fact one of the most interesting that I’ve read lately) that it was quite difficult to put down, even during the second time. In my opinion it was a very well written book. It leads the reader through her memories, her suffering and interrogations, mainly during Taliban occupation.
She gives special importance to the crimes committed against women who have no voice, no face, no help, no work/school, no will, while Taliban where showing off their authority.

My favourite quote, from this book:
“If a Taliban says that a woman is nothing and that he is everything then a fish can tell the sky not to rain. The whole world was born from the body of a woman……”


Looking for a new "reader"...

Journal Entry 35 by YellowBow from Fleet, Hampshire United Kingdom on Friday, January 19, 2007
Why should the journey of this book end in my bookshelf? So, BOOKRAY!!!!
Mailing order:
The rules are quite simple. Register the audiobook when it arrives to you. Just before finishing it ask the next on the list for the address. And most of all enjoy it...

26Jan2007- This audiobook is on his way to celticstar.

Journal Entry 36 by celticstar from Denbighshire, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, February 08, 2007
Thank you very much for sending this on to me.
Sorry for the late journal entry.

Journal Entry 37 by celticstar from Denbighshire, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, April 12, 2007
I Finished listening to this yesterday. Thank you everyone for sharing and keeping this story moving.

I will send on to Cross-patch as soon as I have an address.

Journal Entry 38 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Friday, May 04, 2007
The cassettes are here and in the car player already. Thank you,Meeko14 and celticstar and everyone else along the way. Interesting subject; much needs to be understood.

Journal Entry 39 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, June 25, 2007
I found this so interesting, I immediately listened to it again. It helped a lot with understanding the dreadful oppression of women by such regimes. But, why, oh why? It is knowledge that must be shared, I agree. Thank you, all of you, for getting this around.

Journal Entry 40 by wingCross-patchwing at Bookbox in Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Friday, July 27, 2007

Released 11 yrs ago (7/27/2007 UTC) at Bookbox in Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

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Going into the BabyFlyLadys Boomerang Bookbox (Audio) #1.

Journal Entry 41 by BabyFlylady from Driffield, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, October 25, 2007
Received as part of Babyflyladys Boomerang Bookbox #1. Thanks for sharing!

Released 11 yrs ago (12/1/2007 UTC) at Controlled Release - By Post in Driffield, East Yorkshire United Kingdom

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sending out in smurphie's "it's a mystery bookbox".

Journal Entry 43 by Sunnybubble from Wallasey, Merseyside United Kingdom on Friday, February 15, 2008
For all it's travleing the box of this audio is doing well.
Taken from smurphie's bookbox

Journal Entry 44 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, June 29, 2009
Kindly passed on to me by the lovely Sunlightbub, now that whe has upgraded to a cd player in the car. Thank you.

A return visit

Journal Entry 45 by wingCross-patchwing at By mail, Sweepstake Winner -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (9/2/2009 UTC) at By mail, Sweepstake Winner -- Controlled Releases

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This is very interesting and I hope you enjoy it, along with all your other surprises!

Journal Entry 46 by grubsneerg from Greensburg, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, September 08, 2009
First, I can't believe I won. Second, I can't wait to listen to all of my new-to-me audiobooks! Thank you, Cross-patch! What a great audiobook to receive considering all that is still going on with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Excellent pick!

Journal Entry 47 by grubsneerg from Greensburg, Pennsylvania USA on Sunday, January 31, 2010
I cannot even imagine living the life that Latifa has lived. It certainly puts my life into perspective. I whine about having to go to work, but at least I am allowed to work. I chafe at life's little inconveniences, but at least I am not a prisoner in my own home. I am free, and it's horrible that millions of people are not.

I found the politics and history of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Taliban fascinating. Latifa says that Pakistan IS the Taliban, and it is not interested in helping Afghanistan in any way. It is more interested in ethnic cleansing and "reclaiming" the land they think is rightfully theirs. The last line of the book was particularly poignant: "But who speaks for Afghanistan? I don't know anymore."

Journal Entry 48 by grubsneerg at Greensburg, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (2/11/2010 UTC) at Greensburg, Pennsylvania USA

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On its way to the winner of the Jan/Feb 2010 edition of the International AUDIOBOOK Sweepstakes RABCK. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 49 by christina82 from Stege, Storstrøms Amt Denmark on Monday, February 22, 2010
Wow, another audiobook arrived today and the package was full of lots of other lovely stuff: Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle, a bookcrossing pencil, a bookcrossing tattoo, a bookcrossing window sticker, a lovely postcard, a bookcrossing pin and 7 bookcrossing labels. Thank you, thank you grubsneerg - this is such a great package, you are truely very generous.

Journal Entry 50 by christina82 at Stege, Storstrøms Amt Denmark on Wednesday, September 08, 2010
A moving story, that kept me listening almost in one sitting!
Thank you for sharing this with me, grubsneerg.

I will pass it on to my friend DitteL, very soon.

Journal Entry 51 by christina82 at 4 a R.A.B.C.K, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Released 8 yrs ago (9/8/2010 UTC) at 4 a R.A.B.C.K, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases

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For my friend DitteL

Journal Entry 52 by DitteL at Næstved, Storstrøms Amt Denmark on Thursday, September 23, 2010
From christina82

Journal Entry 53 by wingOBCZ-Moenwing at OBCZ-Moen in Stege, Storstrøms Amt Denmark on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (7/23/2013 UTC) at OBCZ-Moen in Stege, Storstrøms Amt Denmark

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Er nu sat på boghylden inden for døren... God rejse!!!

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