Kite Runner

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Somehow, I never read Kite Runner in high school. A friend just read it and recommended it, so I gave it a try. The story revolves around Amir and his decision to be a bystander as his friend/servant/half brother Hassan is raped. It is set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, giving readers a glimpse into the mindset of what life was like under the Taliban. Overall, it is a very sad book that focuses on the loss of innocence. The first few chapters about Amir’s and Hassan’s childhood were really good and make everything that happened afterwards that much more unfortunate. The ending is also great as the story comes full circle.

1) ‘That’s the one thing Shi’a people do well.’

The more I learn about conflicts in the Middle East, the more it seems like this Sunni-Shia divide is the most fundamental problem. More so than Israel or America. The book talks about how the Pashtuns repressed the Hazaras. No more relevant is this divide than in Iraq, which is majority Shiites but was ruled by Sunni Saddam Hussein.

2) ‘There is no act more wretched than stealing.’ – Baba

Whether it be a life or a loaf of naan.

3) ‘Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.’ – Rahim Khan

I would say no one is a coloring book.

4) Then Hassan did pick up a pomegranate. He walked toward me. He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead.

The most powerful element of the story was the unwavering loyalty of Hassan. He never betrayed and never faulted Amir. This only added to Amir’s burden, one that he never put down.

5) ‘Please’ – Baba

Baba was the most interesting character. An intimidating, powerful man who gave to charity and who begged his servant not to leave.

6) I wanted to tell them that, in Kabul, we snapped a tree branch and used it as a credit card.

7) ‘When the Taliban rolled in and kicked the Alliance out of Kabul, I actually danced on that street’ – Rahim Khan

Russians. Northern Alliance. Taliban. Afghanistan has not had it easy.

8) ‘You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it.’ – Farid

This reminds me of the saying that if you have more than $30, you’re a tourist not a traveller. I don’t agree with this.

9) ‘And they call themselves Muslims.’ – Farid

This was a response to a justification of stoning because God says sinners should be punished. Too often, people use religion as a scapegoat. Maybe this applies to the Sunni/Shia divide too.

10) ‘Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button.’

Good analogy.

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