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Do They Hear You When You Cry? by Fauziya…
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Do They Hear You When You Cry? (edition 1998)

by Fauziya Kassindja, Layli Miller Bashir, Fauziya Kasinga

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3261533,940 (4.06)22
Member:PaulCranswick
Title:Do They Hear You When You Cry?
Authors:Fauziya Kassindja
Other authors:Layli Miller Bashir, Fauziya Kasinga
Info:Bantam Press (1998), Edition: New edition, Hardcover, 518 pages
Collections:Your library, Biography / Memoirs, To read
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Do They Hear You When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja

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English (14)  Dutch (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Fauziya courageously escapes the horrible fate that awaits her--a prison constructed by culture and tradition. She hopefully seeks political asylum in the U.S., and her nightmare actually begins as she's bound in a prison of steel, brutality, and bureaucracy. I read this candid autobiographical story in one night, and I'm not a speed reader! It's suspenseful, depressing, and thought-provoking. Fauziya has a lot to show us about culture, human rights, the nonsensical & hypocritical politics of the U.S., human nature, and "freedom." Fauziya fights for the right to be recognized as human, and ultimately succeeds.
Julie
( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
This book made me really interested in the process of claiming asylum. I've never thought much about asylum, but reading a personal account of someone suffering through the process really made me more interested in learning more about those seeking asylum. i went through a phase of reading a lot of books written by and about people in prison, all of which have been depressing to read, but her story added a whole new dimension. she had to suffer all of horrible things that happen in prison without even having a complete understanding of united states culture. i hope that everything she suffered through really did help other women who are claiming asylum for gender based persecution. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Similar to other books regarding arranged marriages, predictable ( )
  Tony2704 | Mar 16, 2015 |
This is a first-hand account of what happens inside the women's section of an immigrant detention center (or the sections of a state prison or local jail that receive money from the INS to cage immigrants). The account is clearly written and the descriptions are horrifying. Either Kassindja or the person who helped her write the book also included facts and stats that put some of these horrifying realities into the context of racism (e.g. Kassindja had assumed that, because all of the immigrants around her are people of color, Whites do not have immigration issues. However, she (or her co-author) notes that, in reality, White immigrants facing deportation hearings or asylum proceedings are far more likely to be allowed to stay *outside* of prison while awaiting their hearings) and profit (e.g. the INS, in the mid-1990s, paid app $50 a day per person to the jails/prisons that agreed to cage them).

What bothered me (enough to take 2 stars off the book) is how the book falls into the binary of "good immigrants" and "bad criminals," as if women who have broken the law are somehow deserving of all the inhumanities and atrocities. While the book doesn't explicitly state that, it does give that general feeling, esp when Kassindja describes being housed with non-immigrant "convict" women. I understand that, at the time, she was frightened and probably bought all of the myths about women in prison, but given that someone (Kassindja or her co-author or her editor) took the time to put the farce of immigrant detention policies into context, I wish that that person (or those persons) had also added some facts in about the reality of women who end up in prison (i.e. they don't all smash chairs into each others' heads and they are not all scary monsters). For example, Kassindja was frightened when placed in a cell with a non-immigrant woman who had been convicted and sentenced to prison. The woman was a chain smoker, but when Kassindja, whose asthma got worse when around cigarette smoke, timidly asked her not to smoke in their shared cell, the woman agreed not to. But nowhere in that part of the book--or after--do any of the writers point out that, contrary to popular tv shows, women who end up in prison are not any more unreasonable, scary, violent, etc., than most of the women who never set foot inside a prison. (As someone who has worked with women currently in prison and women who have been released from prison for over a decade, I can attest to this.)

I also found the last chapters, which outlined the media exposure strategy that Kassindja's legal team used, very interesting and helpful, especially the lesson (not explicitly stated) that one can't rely on the government to do the right thing, but that public opinion and media exposure can shame them into doing so. (It did make me wonder though just how much more public opinion & media exposure would be needed today since all of the atrocities that Kassindja endured while in prison still exist today) ( )
  VikkiLaw | Apr 4, 2013 |
Heartbreaking story ( )
  Wordreader | Nov 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385319940, Paperback)

Fauziya Kassindja describes her upbringing in a small Western Africa village as "part modern, part traditional, and Muslim throughout." Her Muslim father did not force his daughters to wear veils and encouraged their individualism. Most importantly, Kassindja's father instilled in her a distrust and fear of female circumcision, a controversial procedure still performed in many parts of the world. Tragically for Fauziya, he would die an untimely death, but his emphatic disgust at this dangerous and life-threatening operation had a remarkable effect on his daughter. She would flee the country just hours before her own circumcision, eventually arriving in the United States, where she faced an immigration nightmare.

Fauziya recounts her harrowing ordeals in both Africa and the United States with eloquence and remarkable depth. Her initial naïveté in assuming that she would automatically gain asylum only adds to the tragedy of her story, as she instead faces isolation and religious persecution in high-security prisons. She graphically describes the horrors of strip searches and a terrible sickness that was ignored by prison staff.

This is a book of unspeakable despair put into words as well as a remarkable friendship forged between Fauziya and her lawyer (and contributing editor) Layli Miller Bashir, who was at the fore of Fauziya's case and brought national attention to the plight of these females seeking asylum. Fauziya gained her political asylum in June 1996, but the book ends on a cautionary note; the immigration process for these women is still arduous and often unsuccessful.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:38 -0400)

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"A true story of persecution, friendship, and ultimate triumph, Do They Hear You When You Cry chronicles the struggles of two extraordinary women: Fauziya Kassindja, who fled her African homeland to escape female genital mutilation only to be locked up in American prisons for sixteen months; and Layli Miller Bashir, a driven young law student who fought for Fauziya's freedom." "Here, for the first time, is Fauziya's dramatic personal story, told in her own words, vividly detailing her life as a young woman in Togo and her nightmarish day-to-day existence in U.S. prisons. It is a story of faith and freedom, courage and inspiration."--Jacket.… (more)

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