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I Should Have Honor, by Khalida Brohi.

August 21, 2018

I should have Honor
I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan, by Khalida Brohi.  Random House, 2018.

Forthcoming September 2018

4 stars

The earnest narrative of a brave young girl from the tribal regions of Pakistan who organizes for women’s rights and creates a global network of donors to bring in the resources Pakistani women need.

Khalida Brohi was born in a small village in northern Pakistan.  Her father moved the family to Karachi, however, in part to protect her from the abuses of becoming a child bride.  The execution of a beloved cousin by her relatives in an “honor killing” for loving  a man not her husband awakened Brohi to the injustices women faced in her tribal culture.  Her father was educated, and he had acquired employment with those working to modernize Pakistan.  He not only offered emotional support for her early efforts to improve women’s lives, he also shared resources with her.

Still a child when she started what would become her life work, Brohi had to learn to proceed slowly and not anger the men who were the traditional power holders in the tribal villages.  Her response was to focus on the aspects of her culture that she still loved as she helped women and girls move beyond its bonds.  Attendance of programs in the United States allowed her to develop her organizing skills and put her in contact with those who were able and willing to give her money for her cause.  She was able to found  Sughar, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower and educate Pakistani women and men. Despite her young age, she has received wide international respect for her work.

In writing her own story, Brohi displays her own passions and optimism, her naiveté and discouragement.  As readers, we learn of the beauty of the land and the problems of the women and girls in the Pakistani villages.   She shares her own mistakes as she makes hard choices.  She tells of her pain when her father, who has kindled her hope,s became afraid of the violence she may incite and tries to restrict her actions.  Despite her real achievements and the problems she relates, Brohi is still hopeful and at times seems very very young.

I recommend this book to readers interested in Pakistan and how individuals work to create support for change.

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