Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Infidel
This week, I'm reading Infidel by Ayaan Kirsi Ali. I'm finding this both enlightening and disturbing, but already I know this is something everyone should read.
In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.
One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.
Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished--and sometimes reviled--political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat--demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan--she refuses to be silenced.
Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.
"Who are you?"
"I am Ayaan, the daughter of Hirsi, the son of Magan."
I am sitting with my grandmother on a grass mat under the talal tree. Behind us is our house, and the branches of the talal tree are all that shield us from the sun blazing down on the whide sand. "Go on," my grandmother says, glaring at me.
"And Magan was the son of Isse."
"Isse was son of Guleid, was the son of Ali. Was the son of Wai'ays. Was the son of Muhammed. Ali. Umar." I hesitate for a moment. "Osman. Mahammad." I catch my breath, proud of myself."
"Bah?" asks my grandmother. "Which consort?"
"Bah Ya'qub, Grarab-Sare." I name the most powerful of Osman Mahamud's wives: daughter of Ya'qub, she of the highest shoulder.
My grandmother nods, grudgingly. I have done well, for a five-year-old. I have managed to count my forefathers back for three hundred years--the part that is crucially important. Osman Mahamud is the name of my father's subclan, and thus my own. It is where I belong, who I am.
If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will.
Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/
Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea