Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Crown (April 24, 2012)
In Afghanistan, there is a Pashtun saying known by every woman and by every girl: “A woman should leave her house only twice in her life: once as a bride to go to her husband’s house, and once to the cemetery to be buried.”
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saima Wahab seemed destined to lead the life of any Pashtun female—a life of dependence, without education, a probable child bride—but today, more than three decades later, it is clear that this now American-Pashtun, “Human Terrain” specialist was destined for far greater things. In her new book, In My Father’s Country, Saima shares her remarkable journey: At age three, she watched while her father was arrested and taken from their home by the KGB. She would never see him again. When she was fifteen an uncle who lived in Portland, Oregon brought her to America. Having to learn an entire new language, she nonetheless graduated from high school in three years and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree. In 2004, she signed on with a defense contractor to work as an interpreter in Afghanistan, never realizing that she would blaze the trail for a new kind of diplomacy, earning the trust of both high-ranking U.S. army officials and Afghan warlords alike.
When she arrived in Afghanistan in the winter of 2004, Saima was the only college-educated female Pashto speaker in the entire country. As a Pashtun-born American citizen, Saima found herself in an extraordinary position—to be able to explain the people of her native land to those of her adopted one, and vice versa, in a quest to forge new and lasting bonds between two misunderstood cultures.
In My Father’s Country follows Saima from child refugee to nervous Pashto interpreter to intrepid “Human Terrain” specialist, venturing with her 25-man security detail into isolated Pashtun villages to engage hostile village elders in the first dialogue they’ve ever had with an American. It is also an examination of her life as an American-Pashtun woman; a woman working to create a balance between the two conflicting cultures that comprise her past and shape her future.
SAIMA WAHAB was born in Afghanistan, went to Pakistan as a refugee, and moved to the United States as a teenager. Since then she has become one of the only Pashtun female translators in the world and, among other consequent roles, has returned to Afghanistan to work as a cultural adviser with the U.S. Army. A longtime resident of Portland, OR, Saima now lives in the Washington D.C. area.
Saima Wahab’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, April 24th: Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, April 25th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, April 30th: Bibliosue
Tuesday, May 1st: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, May 2nd: My Book Retreat
Thursday, May 3rd: A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 7th: Book Dilettante
Tuesday, May 8th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Wednesday, May 9th: Book Club Classics!
Monday, May 14th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, May 15th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, May 16th: Lit and Life
Thursday, May 17th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, May 21st: Chew & Digest Books
Tuesday, May 22nd: Twisting the Lens
Wednesday, May 23rd: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews