Trauma, mourning and resistance in Spozhmai Zaryab's short stories

Faridullah Bezhan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The war in Afghanistan (1978 to the present) is one of the longest and bloodiest wars in modern history. From the early 1980s war intensified between the Leftist regime and the opposition Mujahideen and touched the life of every citizen. Bombardments, rockets and landmines killed and injured hundreds of thousands of civilians and caused massive displacement. Women were the direct and indirect targets of the war; some women lost members of their immediate family, others were displaced and emigrated, some were raped, and others were enslaved and sold. Thus trauma and mourning mark the lives of the majority of Afghanistani women. Given the political nature of the conflictwith superpowers and regional powers behind the warring sidesand the nature of socio-cultural bonds that required women to keep silent, how did women deal with these traumas? One of the areas in which this can best be seen is in women's literaturemost notably narrative works. These works, in which the authors were themselves either victims or witnesses, voice women's resistance to the war and portray war and its consequences for ordinary women's everyday lives. In the narrative works of Spozhmai Zaryab (the pioneer of the anti-war fiction in Afghanistan), women and trauma are multi-dimensional. In some of her short stories women mourn publicly; in others, women cope with war and resist it by whatever means available to them. In others, women visualize war, invasion and destruction of all socio-cultural bonds. Women are transformed by a profound change, including in their perception of gender relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-540
Number of pages20
JournalIranian Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011

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