History isn’t Easy to Overcome

While rereading the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, I came across a quote that I felt should be shared here. Before that I will give a short intro to the book with no spoilers.

Now the story is set in Afghanistan, during the time the Taliban takes over. There are two boys, Amir and Hassan. Amir is from a wealthy family. Hassan is the ‘servant boy’ although he isn’t treated like that. They grow up together, running kites and playing games. But we see how fortunate one is, and how unfortunate the other is. Amir goes to school and is literate. Hassan is not. Amir lives in a massive house. Hassan lives in a small hut.

Amir keeps hoping to be loved by his father, Hassan’s father’s world revolves around Hassan.

They both lost their mothers at a very young age. Amir’s mother died giving birth to him, Hassan’s mother left him a week or so after giving birth to him.

Hassan’s words, “for you, a thousand times over” keeps haunting the reader through out the story. He slaves behind Amir not because he feels its his duty to do so but because his love for Amir runs deeper than one could imagine.

“Never mind that to me, the face of Afghanistan is that of a boy with a thin-boned frame, a shaved head, and low-set ears, a boy with a Chinese doll face perpetually lit by a harelipped smile.
Never mind any of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion.
In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.”
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

I feel the quote is important because it shows that people may grow up together, love each other and yet, at some point religion, race and ethnicity matter. We may try to deny it, but our beliefs, especially when they vary, will change things.


5 thoughts on “History isn’t Easy to Overcome”

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us, Shailee! 🙂 I haven’t read “The Kite Runner” but you’ve given us a good explanation of the background so that we can understand the quote… I like the sentence “people may grow up together, love each other and yet, at some point religion, race and ethnicity matter”… From personal experience, I know this is true… Those differences will remain, but we can decide whether to dwell upon them or not. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “It takes more courage to try and talk things than to start a war”…

  2. I remember watching the movie and absolutely loved it, as well as the friendship between Amir and Hassan. Yes, Khaled Hosseini is an amazing storyteller. The concept of the kites uniting the two of them and Amir carrying out the legacy even into their adulthood is beautiful. I suddenly remembered visions of kites across the Afghan desert, and the filming techniques involved in the scenes 🙂

  3. It would be easier to talk about things, but people rarely use words. This leads to misunderstandings and assumptions that then lead to uneasiness.Also looking at the differences between each of us, we have to accept them. If we can't do that, then friendship and peace is not possible. Sadly, not many are willing to understand what they don't know. And so they fear and hate them. Thus the racism and discrimination. While the 'minorities' in Sri Lanka are different in mere numbers, just a few decades ago, the 'minorities' in say, the US were slaves. They weren't just treated like slaves, they were slaves.

  4. The movie was good, but trust me, the book was much better. I had to stop every few pages and tell my self not to cry. And this is after reading the book around three or four times. Its a strong novel and really shows how we hurt people and by doing so only hurt our selves. But looking at these racial and religious differences, well, Hosseini captures what most don't. Say, people look at Buddhists as a chunk of people with the same beliefs. Yet, among all Buddhists there are so many differences too. And if we let these get the better of us, we wont be one, but several separate and hating people.

  5. That's true. As we have often remarked, humanity is afraid of what it doesn't know… I think the language barrier is also a cause for distrust between the minorities and the majority…

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