My Forbidden Face

By Latifa

Significant Themes

Education is one of the most important things a person can have- Latifa writes of how her whole country is deprived of the right to be educated and constantly revisits the dangers of this throughout the book. She repeatedly says how she believes education is an important tool that people need and it's evil to cut people off from it.

It is important to stand up against oppression- Latifa continually emphasizes the importance of standing up and going against oppressive forces. She herself takes a stand and publicly speaks against the Taliban in an interview. She also starts up an underground school, a direct violation of Taliban law, as a way to fight the oppression she is faced with.


'Woman is the future of mankind. May God grant that in Afghanistan'

'I will do more than pray, because when the last Talib has put away his black turban and I can be a free woman in a free Afghanistan. I will take up my life there, as my duty as a citizen and woman.'


1959-1989 People enjoy free reign and rights in Afghanistan, despite the ongoing war within the country

1989 The Taliban begin to take parts of Afghanistan

1996 The Taliban take over Latifa's home city, Kabul

1996-2000 Latifa struggles with depression as she is stuck in her house under the Taliban. During this time, her only happiness comes from her illicit school.

2000 Latifa and some of her family leave Afghanistan to be interviewed by a reporter from Elle magazine

2000 She is banned from her country for speaking against the Taliban, leaving her stuck in Europe

Present She continues to write, speak up against the Taliban and advocate for women's rights


Malala, a fierce advocate for women's rights who was also oppressed by the Taliban, shared very similar views with Latifa. Both argue the importance of education, and how obtaining an education is a right and essential to ending Taliban rule. They both have similar stories of suffering, persevering and speaking against the Taliban.
Girl Shot in Head by Taliban, Speaks at UN: Malala Yousafzai United Nations Speech 2013