With All Our Strength is the inside story of this women-led underground organization and their fight for the rights of Afghan women. Anne Brodsky, the first writer given in-depth access to visit and interview their members and operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, shines light on the gruesome, often tragic, lives of Afghan women under some of the most brutal sexist oppression in the world.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan came to Western attention in the wake of the fall of the Taliban, but its history long predates the Taliban. In 1977, in an environment hostile to women's rights and secularism, a 20-year-old woman named Meena founded RAWA to empower Afghan women and promote democracy in Afghanistan (in 1987, Meena was murdered by RAWA's opponents). Community psychologist Brodsky's groundbreaking account studies this important organization's evolution from an 11-member student group to the most powerful voice for women in Afghanistan, with thousands of volunteers. Heavily sprinkled with perceptive interviews, the book relays RAWA's story through the voices of its members and supporters, skillfully bringing to life those whose sacrifices have sustained the organization. The first writer with in-depth access to RAWA, Brodsky writes a passionate narrative of an organization that has helped its members overcome illiteracy, abuse, war and death. As Brodsky intends, RAWA emerges as a highly successful model of the resilience that, Brodsky believes, can empower women everywhere. Although RAWA's incredible story keeps the reader engaged, the book is occasionally repetitive. Brodsky also inadequately addresses one of the most fascinating aspects of RAWA-the clandestine manner in which the organization grew into a sophisticated transnational organization without infrastructure and designated leaders. However, her work stands out as a lone and important study of a remarkable organization that has transcended war, misogyny and fundamentalism and spread its message of Afghanistan's horrific history and its current reconstruction. Photos. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.