Counterpoint: "Fahim Speaks"

A journey from Kabul to Hollywood - and back again



After a decade-long war in Afghanistan, we're swimming in images of the distant land - many of them negative. In the newly released autobiography "Fahim Speaks" [Warriors Publishing Group, $14.95] by Fahim Fazli (with Michael Moffett, of Concord, co-writing), we can see Afghanistan from a refreshingly different perspective - that of someone who lived there as a privileged child during a relatively stable period in the ancient country's history and later as a freedom fighter against the invading Russians.

After years of watching his country and his family get torn apart, he finally flees with what is left of his family. That perilous journey, from Afghanistan through Pakistan and eventually to the United States, is the stuff of movies. Perhaps it's a movie that Fahim will make someday; he's been working in Hollywood, mostly as an actor, since soon after arriving in the US. But he also played the real-life role as cultural advisor for the film "Charlie Wilson's War," working with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Not a bad gig for the man whose mother had called him "a bad-luck child." He also ducked his mother's label by surviving a tour as an interpreter with the Marines in the embattled Helmand Province back in Afghanistan, a dangerous mission Fahim undertook to serve his adopted country.

It's a fascinating life well worth knowing about and a book well worth reading, though I wish the cover art looked a little less scary. It feeds into an unfortunate stereotype and doesn't convey Fahim as the accomplished, brave, patriotic man he is.

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