Ghazi Stadium Watching Thieves
In chapters 36-39, it’s starts off by Laila and Mariam planning their escape to Peshawar, Pakistan. They decide to leave once Rasheed goes off to work, so they’re chance at getting caught is less exposed. Once they take a bus/taxi to the train station, they need to ask a man to buy them tickets. Women are allowed to travel alone and buying a ticket alone would get Laila, Mariam, and Aziza caught. They decide to ask a man traveling with his family, who they don’t know at all. He agrees and everything looks to be in the clean until the man tells the conductor that the women aren’t with him. This would end up with Laila and Mariam being questioned then returned to Rasheed. Rasheed is angry and punishes them for leaving him and locks them up separately.
Later in chapter 37, two years passed and the Taliban arrive in Kabul taking out the Mujahideen. Rasheed takes the three women out to join in the celebration, they’re shocked to see the amount of destruction that surround them. Rasheed is happy and is proud of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, the Ameer ul Mumineen, leader of the faithful. They catch up with the crowd listening to the Taliban spokesman and next to him are two corpses, Pres. Najibullah and his brother, the kafir a non-muslim. Later, Mariam finds a flier that enforces the strict rules on women. Laila expresses her thoughts with shock at the news. Rasheed and Mariam see her as naive and find the news “old news”. During this discussion, Mariam realizes that in the Taliban's eyes, Communists such as Najibullah are only a little more despicable than women. In chapter 38, Laila speaks about her father not being alive is good b/c he doesn’t have to see the Taliban's total destruction of all artistic and cultural artifacts. The changes don’t seem to bother Rasheed and even attends weekend punishment sessions at Ghazi Stadium watching thieves get their hands cut off and women accused of adultery beaten to death. One night, Rasheed tells Laila of these punishments and tells her that he could at any time turn her or Aziza in to the Taliban and there'd be nothing she could do. While Laila tries to ignore him, inside she knows he's right, she has no options. What doesn’t help either is being pregnant again. Laila even considers giving herself an abortion. In the end, she decides against it, realizing the child is innocent and that it's Rasheed with whom she's angry with.
In chapter 39, Mariam, Laila, and Rasheed rush to the nearest hospital as Laila has gone into labor. The Taliban officials guarding the door tell that the hospital only serves men. They inform them that there is only one hospital for women, Rabia Balkhi. Going back to the AWAW Article, it stated that women and men had different hospitals. The hospitals for women though were in terrible conditions and lacked proper resources like the one Laila’s at. At Rabi Balkhi, Mariam tries to get help for Laila. Joining the mob of wounded and upset women, Mariam asks a nurse for help and the nurse tells her to wait. They wait most of the day. Finally, when they're brought to a dirty delivery room, the female doctor working informs Mariam and Laila that the baby is breached and they'll need to perform a cesarean. Mariam is horrified to hear that Laila will have to undergo the operation without anesthesia. The procedure begins and Laila fights the urge to scream as long as she can.
Throughout these chapters, Hosseini portrays the message that women are the only hope for Afghanistan to change for the better. Hosseini uses the angry crowd of women at the hospital to show that women are tired of the inequality. And it’s people like Mariam who are strong to show young women like Liala that the traditional ways for a women isn’t a pleasant life. For change to come, the women need to be involved to help and make Afghanistan a thriving society.