Taliban’s Cruelty vs. the Soviet Union sample essay
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban both shows human cruelty to the extremist and beyond imagination. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn furtively wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich during the Cold War. It was an era of disaster and violence. The world’s two superpowers, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States, fought each other profoundly by accumulating more and more destructive weapons in preparation for a real and possibly world-ending war.
Ahmed Rashid, a highly publicized Pakistani journalist, wrote the book Taliban shortly after the terrorist attack of September 11. He calls the country one of world’s “orphaned conflicts”. The country will soon change from being orphaned to a month later 9/11 being the center of global politics. Just like Ivan Denisovich, many Afghans had to experience the cruelty of communism, Soviet Union and Taliban in Afghanistan. It’s really hard to understand Ivan Denisovich’s life and the difficulties by just reading the text.
One will appreciate this book much more by being in the same shoes as Ivan Denisovich and experiencing the terrifying brutality first hand. Joseph Stalin’s democracy in Soviet Union is comparable to the Taliban Era in Afghanistan, with Taliban being more spiteful, malicious, cruel and vicious. The prisoners in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich had more freedom then people locked in their homes in Afghanistan. Taliban weren’t as powerful and as well-known as Joseph Stalin but their impact on Afghanistan and its people were dreadful.
Afghanistan has been in war for three decades and its people have experienced almost every style of violence. The novel takes place on a winter day in 1951 in Siberian labor camp. Thousands of innocent men were taken from their families, lives, homes, and stripped of their pride and expelled to the harsh labor camps of Stalin where they were spend the rest of the day fighting for existence. One of these men was Shukhov, the protagonist of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. He has been in prison for eight years and has two more to go, provided his sentence isn’t prolonged even longer for absolutely any reason at all.
His lifestyle is different than a normal human being. He is locked in the Stalin prison camp for 10 years if not life time. In the camp the only thing the prisoners worry about is amount of food ration attained and the will to live the best they can. It’s evident that in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich the prisoners lack freedom due to the severe restriction and work load by the guards of Soviet camp. They are not given a chance in what work they are doing and are not getting paid. Life can be unbelievably hard at times; nearly everyone in this world encounters a period when circumstances become incredibly difficult.
Imagine being assigned to ten years of unending and tremendous adversity, as Ivan Denisovich did in the One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It’s apparent that he is starved, overworked, nearly frozen and punished unreasonably. It’s quite difficult and agonizing to have to wake up every day at 5 in the morning. On the second page of the book, the reader learns that Denisovich, or Shukhov as he is called, often gets up early before 5 in the morning so that he may have a little time to himself to experience freedom.
Even after all the hardship and adversity Shukhov finds a sort of freedom through work because he is no longer working for the authorities but as his desire not to stop even when the end of day signal sounds. He has developed his own individualized way of living day to day, finding loopholes, avoiding punishment and making life a little more manageable under hard and difficult circumstances. Although he is well aware of how things function in the camp, he learned when to work hard and when to take it easy, identifying his keen character and making him who he is.
It’s clear that Shukhov goes through poverty, destitution, and misery throughout the day but at the end of the day he is happy and thankful. As Solzhenitsyn mentions in the last paragraph of the novel which is the end of the day for Shukhov, “Shukhov went to sleep fully content. He’d had many strokes of luck that day: they hadn’t put him in the cells; they hadn’t sent his squad to the settlements; he’d swiped a bowl of kasha at dinner; the squad leader had fixed the rates well; he’d built a wall and had enjoyed doing it |…| and he hadn’t fallen ill.
He had got over it. ” The above passage proves that he had adapted to the Stalin camp. He has a choice to get adapted to the prison life. He has somewhat of a freedom. He gets along with all the prisoners and he is respected. He at least eats a meal every day. People in Afghanistan do not have the freedom like Shukhov have, they can’t leave their house. Their life is in jeopardy throughout the day. Many of them lose their families; their families are kidnapped, beaten, or killed in front of their eyes.
Majority of them are starved to death due to lack of money. They are not allowed to leave the house or they will be arrested for labor work. One can argue that the prisoners in the One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich lived a hard life because they were locked up and had no freedom, but Afghan people had it much worse. The Taliban lead by Mullah Muhammad Omar, were a Sunni “Wahabi” Islamist, predominately fundamentalist religious and political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001.
They claimed to be true Muslims and bring peace to Afghanistan but instead, they were nothing but inhuman and animals. Ahmad Rashid mentions in his book that “All those who gathered around Omar were the children of the Jihad but deeply disillusioned with the factionalism and criminal activities of the once idealized Mujaheddin leadership”. They saw themselves as the cleansers and purifiers of a guerrilla war gone astray, a social system gone wrong and an Islamic way of life that had been compromised by corruption and excess.
As Rashid states, “The Taliban immediately implemented the strictest interpretation of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world. They close down girls’ schools and banned women from work outside the home, smashed TV sets, forbade a whole array of sports and recreational activities and ordered all males to grow long beard. Within 3 months, they took control of 12 of Afghanistan’s 31 provinces, opening the roads to traffic and disarming the population” They were disgrace to Islam and abused the name Islam and humiliated every Muslim.
The warlords seized homes and farms, threw out the occupants and handed them over to their supporters. The commanders abused the population at will, kidnapping young girls and boys for their sexual pleasure, robbing merchants in the stores and fighting and brawling in the streets. They forced extreme laws, especially on women. Women weren’t allowed to leave the house without being accompanied by their husband or dad. They wanted to reinforce Islam and the true religion on others, yet they were illiterate and immoral and had no knowledge of Islam.
Corruptions, motivated killings, and other atrocities grew more and more in Afghanistan. Just like the guards from One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Soviet Union, the Taliban were a new nightmare for every human being in Afghanistan. Starvation was the number one cause of death in the Taliban Era. Families would have to trade their kids for food. Many would auction their kids for money so they can survive. Women had to wear a veil that covered all parts of their body. Punishments were beyond cruel for breaking any of their set rules.
If a women’s hand was visible, they would cut it off on the spot. If anyone committed adultery, they would be stoned to death. They had set rules that are unlawful in Islam. They were beyond ruthless, callous, unkind and heartless. Kabul’s soccer field became the venue for the gruesome rites. Public executions and amputations of legs and hands were performed there at the orders of the Taliban, who made it a sport showcasing, a Taliban code of justice that even extreme Muslims could barely grasp it.
It’s rightful to say that the Stalin era and the Stalin camp served harsh rules but it’s not comparable to the Taliban Era and its harshness on human race. Taliban are disgrace to Islam and humanity. No human being should be treated the way Afghanis were treated under the Taliban regime. Dying from starvation could possibly be the worst way of experiencing death. The pain of having to see your hand or leg get amputated is beyond reality and imagination. One has to have the biggest heart to even think about selling their children for money.
Seeing people dead on the streets are excruciating. All this horrendous outcomes were caused by the Taliban that stole very soul from the people and their beloved country. Sources • Rashid, Ahmed. Taliban Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. New York: Yale UP, 2001. Print. • Robinson, Dean J. “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. ” Rev. of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Web log post. Legible. WordPress, 20 Nov. 2007. Web. 13 Feb. 2010.
Study Acers provides students with tutoring and help them save time, and excel in their courses. Students LOVE us!No matter what kind of essay paper you need, it is simple and secure to hire an essay writer for a price you can afford at StudyAcers. Save more time for yourself. Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more