Propaganda is used to influence people’s opinions through different forms of media. It can gain either support or disapproval by shaping people’s opinions or behavior. The purpose of propaganda is to influence the way people view a particular topic. By appealing to people on a more personal and emotional level, the propaganda is more affective. Khaled Hosseini uses The Kite Runner as propaganda to change society’s post 9-11 opinion of Afghanistan. Through evoking strong emotions, The Kite Runner appeals to people on a more personal level and changes the views of Afghanistan and its people.
The Kite Runner depicts the lifestyle of a Pashtun man and his father growing up in America, during a trivial time in Afghanistan. Amir grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1960’s, and was the privileged son of a wealthy entrepreneur. Although he lived a lavish lifestyle, he spent the majority of his time playing with his faithful servant, Hassan. The strength of their friendship was tested numerous times, yet their bond remained unbreakable. Hassan was loyal to Amir, yet Amir often treated him in unkind ways. After many years of friendship, Amir dishonored his friend one last time, which resulted in him never seeing him again. Unknown to Amir, his actions to get rid of Hassan was only the first of many struggles of a completely new lifestyle.
Amir and his father, Baba, were evacuated out of their home in Kabul when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. They were relocated to different refugee places throughout the Middle East, but they lived in a continuous fear of death. After moving from place to place in unsafe environments, Amir and his Baba finally escaped the Taliban and moved to the United States. Living in San Francisco, California, Baba worked as an assistant at a gas station, while Amir attended school. Life was not easy for Amir and Baba living in America, but they maintained their customs and struggled to remain happy. Although they had to learn to adapt to a completely new lifestyle, Amir and Baba remained faithful to their cultural ties and values. They primarily associated themselves with other Afghans, yet they learned to accept the American way of life.
Amir’s trivial life in Afghanistan, as well as in America, evokes strong emotions, which make the story more relatable. Therefore, The Kite Runner is used as a form of propaganda because it is able to change the way we feel by connecting with us on a more personal level. Amir describes his experience of going back to Afghanistan in the midst of all the turmoil. He had been living in America for may years, but returned to take care of a few favors asked of him. He describes his homecoming in a disturbing way. The men selling their limbs for money, burned down buildings, armed men on constant patrol, malnourished, parentless children, and the dead bodies lining the streets prove that the people in Afghanistan suffer immensely while under the Taliban rule. Our society is blinded to their suffering by our own problems. We tend to recognize all the harm the Taliban do to Americans, but neglect the torture they inflict upon their own people. This novel raises attention for their suffering and induces a sense of empathy towards the Afghan people.
The Kite Runner shows that not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. The 9-11 incident instilled a fear toward Middle Eastern people in the majority of Americans. We assumed that all Afghan-looking people were terrorists, therefore we looked poorly upon them and treated them differently. For a while, Americans lived in fear of Afghans, but did not realize that the people in Afghanistan had far more to fear. Amir’s description of the people on the streets and those living in terror of the Taliban prove that only a select group of people is responsible for the problems created in Afghanistan and America. As a result, the novel changes our point of view regarding all Middle Eastern people and the fact that they are not all bad people.
Additionally, Amir explains the struggles he encountered while moving from Afghanistan to the United States and the adjustments he had to make. Before he left Afghanistan, Amir lived in a continuous state of fear, but it was hard for him and his father to leave their homeland. His experience helps us understand the hardships they encountered, while moving away from their culture and induces empathy for all they had to go through. Once they moved to America, they continued to practice their religion and maintained their customs, even though they lived in a new country. His stories of trying to adjust to his new lifestyle make us recognize the struggles they went through. It changes the way we view Afghans because we learn that they were put through very hard times as well. The novel makes us become more understanding and compassionate towards the people of Afghanistan.
Our society typically thinks of Afghans as terrible people, yet our assumptions are far from the truth. The Kite Runner proves that the majority of people living in Afghanistan suffered immensely during that period of time, and had no control over the terror that was taking place. Amir’s stories are relatable because Americans experienced similar suffering during 9-11, yet our society refuses to acknowledge their losses. This novel draws attention to the pain the Afghan’s experienced and helps us acknowledge their struggles. By relating their experiences to ours, it induces a personal attachment and changes our opinions regarding the people in Afghanistan. The novel helps change our opinions of Afghans because we realize that they are not all terrorists and they suffer the same way we do.
After reading the novel, my opinion of Afghanistan greatly changed. Before reading The Kite Runner, I did not understand the suffering that the people in Afghanistan experienced. I did not realize the extend of torture and fear that they went through. I believe the novel is used as propaganda because the stories are relatable and evoke strong emotions. These emotions connect with us on a personal level, therefore creating an attachment between the people of Afghanistan and us. This novel was used as a form of propaganda and changed my point of view of Afghanistan and the people.
Propaganda is used in many different ways to change people’s opinions on particular topics. The Kite Runner is a primary example of propaganda because Khaled Hosseini describes his life in Afghanistan in a time of turmoil, which greatly contradicts how many people view Afghanistan. The novel provokes strong emotions and draws attention to the topics that are commonly overlooked. The Kite Runner uses graphic details and emotional stories to engage readers and change the false notions facing Afghanistan and its people.