Sunday, September 20, 2009

Harrowing story of captivity

The book Kabul 24 tells the story of eight western aid workers who were arrested in Afghanistan the month before the Sept. 11 attacks. Ostensibly arrested for attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity (by showing a DVD), the prisoners were kept in abominable conditions, interrogated repeatedly, and eventually put on trial. Their Afghan co-workers were also arrested, and were treated much worse by their captors, suffering beatings and torture. The book would be a harrowing account in the hands of more unbiased authors, but this book is so blatantly "us vs. them" that it's difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to get drawn into the story. The Christian aid workers are humble servants who only speak of their religion if asked. Their Taliban captors are illiterate, incompetent, brutal and cartoonish. While it's apparent that the aid workers suffered their captivity with grace and faith, a more balanced telling of the story would have let the reader form a more realistic opinion of the actions of both the captives and their captors. As it is, we are left to marvel at the strength of character of the captives who never lost their faith in extremely trying odds.


jenny said...

I just joined Thomas Nelson's blogging reviews, and I almost picked this book until I read your review. I was concerned it would be presented in the us vs. them matter, so thanks for your review!

Lisanne624 said...

It was just too obviously biased. I'm a bit slow on the uptake to pick up bias sometimes, but this was over the top!

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