The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Hosseini brings a new light to Afghanistan

Imagine an Afghanistan where kids play in the streets and families browse the markets without the fear of hearing gun shots. Imagine boys flying kites and kids attending school. Imagine roads free of the Taliban — no packs of people riding around in SUVs with AK assault rifles. This is the country that Khaled Hosseini was born in. This is where he spent the first 11 years of his life.

“There was a time where [Afghanistan] was very peaceful and quiet,” Hosseini said. “In some ways, it was even idyllic.”

Hosseini is the author of three novels, the most famous one being “The Kite Runner,” and though the three stories are distinct, they all have roots to his homeland.

Hosseini traveled to Dallas to speak on SMU’s campus as part of the Tate Lecture series Feb. 7 during both the Turner Construction Student Forum question and answer session, and the evening lecture.

“I know about his books, and I plan to read them,” senior SMU student Allie Hawks said. “I couldn’t miss the opportunity to hear him speak.”

Even though it was not his intention, his books have sparked interest across the world in the problems Afghanistan is facing. Students know who Khaled Hosseini is, and they are seeking out his novels to educate themselves about the problems the war was provoked, and to experience the deep and invasive emotions his writing evokes from his readers.

“After I read his books I was shocked,” First-year Olivia Ngyuen said. “It was a good recreation of the war.”

Hosseini created the Khaled Hosseini Foundation to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan. He said that where people end up in life is random. He has been fortunate in his adult life, and he is inspired to reach out to those who are not as lucky.

“It’s aimed to reach people that are like the characters in my book,” Hosseini said.

Despite the country’s turbulent history, Hosseini still argues that there are good things that have come for Afghanistan. The life expectancy is increasing, it was once at 40 years and now it is climbing into the 60s. Maternal mortality rates are declining, health clinics are opening and there are people helping who can.

“Even in its heyday, it was one of the most impoverished nations in the world,” he said. “The only thing that gives me hope, is that it’s a very young country. The young people are importing new ideas into Afghanistan and I’m hopeful that that’s an agent of change.”

Afghanistan will elect a new government April 5. Hosseini knows it will take longer than the term of one elected president to cure the devastated country.

“Time. That is what Afghanistan needs to heal,” Hosseini said. “This is a marathon. It will take a long time, and it will be painful to watch.”

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