Cover image for The silenced cry : one woman's diary of a journey to Afghanistan
The silenced cry : one woman's diary of a journey to Afghanistan
Tortajada, Anna, 1957-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Grito silenciado. English
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
261 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS352 .T6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DS352 .T6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS352 .T6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS352 .T6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Inspired by a lecture in Barcelona given by a leading member of RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), the radical feminist women's group who work under cover as the only real opposition to the Taliban, Ana Tortajada, an experienced Spanish journalist, decided to make a trip to Afghanistan in the summer of 2000. She wanted to learn more about the lives of Afghan women, to visit their homes and the places where they worked as clandestine teachers and doctors, to meet their families, to listen to their stories, and see how they lived under the veil.
Tortajada's journey takes her from the slums and refugee camps in Peshawar, along the Pakistani-Afghan border, to Kabul. She writes about the revolutionary efforts of RAWA, the genocidal campaign of the Taliban to extinguish the Hazara ethnicity in Afghanistan, the failure of the international community to ameliorate the alarming situation of Afghan refugees, and offers a first-hand account of the atrocities Afghan women have been suffering at the hands of the Taliban.
"The Silenced Cry" is not only timely, but also compelling. With extremely evocative and poetic writing, Tortajada conveys the beauty of the landscape, and the wonderfully inspiring optimism of the people. In heart wrenching detail, we see just how debilitated and wretched the conditions were, yet we also see people who still fought for freedom, democracy, and basic human rights. Candid and compassionate, never condescending or pitying, "The Silenced Cry" is a human, approachable, and provocative look at the best and worst in the human spirit.

Author Notes

Ana Tortajada, a journalist and novelist, lives in Barcelona, Spain
Ezra E. Fitz has translated works by several members of Latin America's new succession of writers, including Pedro Angel Palou, Eloy Urroz, and Alberto Fuguet. He is a graduate student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Columbia University and lives in New York City

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Spanish writer Tortajada hears an Afghan refugee speak at a League of People's Rights conference in Barcelona and decides that she must see the camps for herself. She also plans to write a book about her experiences and to donate the profits to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). In August 2000, therefore, she and two companions journey first to a refugee camp in Pakistan and then to Kabul. The women stay with a refugee family in Peshwar, Pakistan, where they visit clandestine women's literacy classes, embroidery shops whose workers are searching for European markets, and a brick factory, where even children work all night. In Afghanistan they visit underground schools and women's health and literacy classes, see the soccer fields where executions still take place, and witness the ongoing search for land mines, often traveling after dark to avoid discovery by the Taliban. This unforgettable diary sheds new light on a crisis overshadowed by more recent world events. --Deborah Donovan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 2000, Spanish journalist Tortajada and two companions set out to see for themselves the effects the Taliban had on Afghan women's lives. This account of the three weeks they spent among Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, on the way to Afghanistan and the four days they spent in Kabul captures intimate moments, conveying not just suffering and pain but also joy and beauty. With a composed tone, Tortajada allows readers to find their own rage. They'll transcend their status as mere observers of burkas to become uncomfortable wearers. Closer in spirit to a series of letters than a diary, this work covers such diverse subjects as wedding customs, governance in the camps, rug weaving, medical crises, the activities of women's groups and the neglect of international agencies. Tortajada makes vivid a world that offers Internet cafes but lacks running water. Guides and guards merge in this place where the harrowing legacy and overshadowing power of the Taliban touches everything. Although Kabul may have changed since September 11 and American intervention, the Taliban have not. Tortajada's denunciation of it is still timely and pressing. B&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Emma Parry. (Aug.) FYI: All Tortajada's royalties go to RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Reminiscent of Mahnaz Kousha's Voices from Iran: The Changing Lives of Iranian Women, Spanish journalist Tortajada's account of her summer 2000 visit to Afghanistan provides an intimate portrait of the lives of women there and the culture in which they live. Written almost as a diary of the author's travels, the book presents vivid stories of individual women that she met. Tortajada offers an in-depth look at the abominable conditions that many endure as refugees in Pakistan, and we learn of the horrors of the Taliban regime, during which women were brutalized and executions and mutilations were conducted in a public forum. But she also evokes admiration for the strength and courage of Afghan women and for the humor, solidarity, and camaraderie of the Afghan people in their never-ending quest for freedom. Fast moving, intriguing, and interspersed with just the right amounts of pathos and humor, this book should be essential reading. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Friday, August 25, 2000. Valliranap. 1
Sunday, July 30, 2000. Peshawarp. 8
Monday, July 31, 2000. Peshawarp. 24
Tuesday, August 1, 2000. The Refugee Campp. 40
Wednesday, August 2, 2000. The Refugee Campp. 55
Thursday, August 3, 2000. Peshawarp. 71
Friday, August 4, 2000. Peshawarp. 85
Saturday, August 5, 2000. Peshawarp. 99
Sunday, August 6, 2000. Peshawarp. 116
Monday, August 7, 2000. Peshawarp. 127
Tuesday, August 8, 2000. Islamabadp. 129
Wednesday, August 9, 2000. Islamabadp. 135
Thursday, August 10, 2000. Peshawarp. 149
Friday, August 11, 2000. Peshawarp. 152
Saturday, August 12, 2000. Afghanistanp. 157
Sunday, August 13, 2000. Afghanistanp. 178
Monday, August 14, 2000. Afghanistanp. 203
Tuesday, August 15, 2000. Afghanistanp. 221
Wednesday, August 16, 2000. The Refugee Campp. 229
Thursday, August 17, 2000. The Refugee Campp. 235
Friday, August 18, 2000. Peshawarp. 241
Monday, January 18, 2001. Valliranap. 246
Chronologyp. 248