By: Rosanne Hawke
Location: FIC HAW
Genre: Girls, Justice and fighting for what is right.
Think Malala, think any book about Pravana, think And the Mountains Echoed or In the Sea there Are Crocodiles. These are the books and stores that inspire me and infuriate me and some have even caused me change what I think and what I do and how I discuss the world I live in.These stories anger me, I hate injustice based on race, gender, religion or culture- I just don't get it!!
The storyline follows Aster, a Pakistani Christian girl who becomes the hope of her family after her brother dies. An opportunity at education that would never have otherwise been hers turns into a nightmare when a teacher accuses her of blaspheming the Prophet in a written exam. Arrested so quickly after the test is over that later investigators come to the conclusion the timing was too fast not to be suspicious, Aster is imprisoned. Her family has to go into hiding. Her village is abandoned for fear of retaliation.
Respected Muslim neighbours and lawyers try to intervene on her behalf but mob rule is the dominant force in the situation. Even when it is discovered that the teacher has destroyed Aster's exam paper, the accusation of blasphemy turns out to be of greater weight than the lack of evidence. In prison, Aster meets Muslim women who have been affected by the same 'black law': it is being used as a weapon to eliminate anyone who has incurred the hatred, or even displeasure, of family, neighbours or colleagues. The mere accusation has become a powerful tool of destruction in the hands of those who have the capacity to whip up mob frenzy.
In Australia, Aster's cousin organises a massive worldwide web petition to present to the Pakistani government. But will it make any difference? The lawyers and government officials who are working to change the law are systemically being assassinated.
This bleak - and ultimately unresolved narrative - is based on the true life story of Asia Bibi -
Anne Hamilton- Goodreads.