Hear an Afghan woman's odyssey as Center Stage presents Farooka Gauhari
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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 14, 2009) — The author of the first memoir of an Afghan woman written in the English language will share her insight and reflection on the changes in her society, her decision to leave the country and life for today’s Afghan women when she visits Tennessee Tech University’s campus for a featured presentation.
Farooka Gauhari, author of Searching for Saleem: an Afghan Woman’s Odyssey, will describe the search for her husband after the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and how she watched the toppling of her home country, the shrinking of Afghan woman's presence in politics, and the institutionalizing of government repression. Her presentation will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, in TTU’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium.
"I am not a historian," Gauhari said. "But I can offer a summary of the people and what we went through. I want to tell of my experiences in Afghanistan.
"The book talks about my day-to-day efforts to search for my husband who was an air force officer," Gauhari said. "He just left the house and did not come back."
During the Soviet invasion and civil war that took place in Afghanistan in the late 1970s, Gauhari and her husband were labeled "anti revolutionist" and Gauhari’s husband went missing.After searching for him for nearly two years, Gauhari discovered that he had been killed.
"After I found out what had happened to him, I thought, 'this is my country and I will be treated as an anti revolutionist,'" Gauhari said.
No longer feeling safe in the country, Gauhari made her way out with her children.
Once a country where women had the right to vote, dress as they pleased and made up nearly half of the labor force in some cities, Afghanistan and its people have been transformed under the Taliban rule ushered in by the unrest in the country after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union.
"I would not go back to the country today," Gauhari said. "I still feel that I owe my country something. I was educated well there and want to help the people, but I want peace there first. I will not go back in war."
Formerly an associate professor at Kabul University in Afghanistan, Gauhari has also worked in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s biology department.