What is the main theme in The Bookseller of Kabul?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would think that one of the major themes that emerges from the book is the idea of how democracy and human rights are not merely abstract concepts.  In an increasingly globalized world, "democracy" is tossed around so often.  The book details how women really could use the presence and power of democracy in being able to liberate their own conditions.  In a nation like Afghanistan which "embraced" democracy after the ouster of the Taliban, this never filtered down to the women, entirely.  Hence, the book's theme brings out that there is a fundamental contradiction in a democracy for men of a nation, but one denied to women through "traditional" practices.  Interestingly enough, the book intimates that idea of forging democracy in Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban led government ensured alliances with some of the worst violators of women's rights.  This means that the government that was designed to enhance democracy for all was being propped up by some of the worst offenders of human rights in regards to women.  The book makes it clear through its depiction of what it means to be a woman in a place light Afghanistan is not covered by the abstract statements of "democracy" and "democratic government."

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