“Confessions of a Mullah Warrior” Makes You Reconsider Everything You Thought About Afghanistan
How many books are there about Afghanistan, its wars, its depressing history, its being betrayed by the entire world? And how many of those books are told from the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Afghanistan, fought against the Russians, attended Harvard and literally went back to the country while it was still unstable to serve his country?
Confessions of a Mullah Warrior gives an account of Afghanistan’s issues from a perspective that you couldn’t make up. Masood Farivar was born there, grew up there and fought there. He participated [understatement, I know] in the lesser jihad against the Russians, fighting the Soviets and communists, spending time in Tora Bora when our “allies” were there collecting arms from our go-between at the ISI in Pakistan.
Farivar is a mullah warrior. He’s a Muslim fighting for his country, a pious man who grows out his beard according to Islam, a dedicated Muslim who is willing to sacrifice his life for what he believes is right int he eyes of Allah. He eventually meets Karimullah who plants the seed of attending school in America. Not any school, though. This Afghan overcomes all odds and graduates from Harvard.
From the perilous roads of Afghanistan and being targeted by enemy gunships to the lush campus of Harvard and living in New York, Farivar tells his story which will make you proud to be an American, embarrassed to be an American, left in awe of a man whose story makes you grateful of being an American.
When he shares of his first impressions when first arriving in America, it makes you laugh, it makes you think and it makes you think twice about how you behave when meeting a foreigner. His time in America is funny, it’s enlightening, it’s inspirational. Then 9/11 happens and though you’ve been reading about this man’s entire life, you still can’t predict what happens next in his mind and in his actions. You feel his anger, his pain and outrage though where it’s all directed is quite surprising.
Even as a seven year old he said he wanted to serve his country, though he didn’t know exactly what that meant at the time. As you travel through his life, you see how his experiences have shaped who he is and how even before returning to Afghanistan, he has already served his country. This book alone sheds light to a situation most Americans, even with the 24 hour news coverage, know so little about.
Afghanistan becomes more than a 250,000 square mile battlefield. It comes to life with characters not waging war on America or smuggling opium to Europe. Real people who you feel yourself rooting for to survive in such chaotic circumstances. Afghanistan becomes a beautiful country infected with warlords whose shadow hides the 35+ million people struggling to make it from day to day.
Whenever I read life stories like this, I’m amazed at the amount of tragedy a person’s heart can handle. How much it can absorb and keep beating. And even when it seems there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, I’m amazed how people like Masood Farivar continue to plow forward, fearlessly determined to accomplish a goal that seems virtually impossible and overly optimistic.
If you want to know the real people who live in Afghanistan; their opinions about the Taliban, the warlords, the ISAF, America; the effects of American and Pakistani intervention; then get Confessions of a Mullah Warrior and prepare yourself for a life story that’s still being written as you read.
This book gets all five fingers.