The Kite Runner's most adoring readers and also some of its most critical are Hosseini's fellow Afghan expatriates. Hosseini said in a 2003 interview, "I get daily e-mails from Afghans who thank me for writing this book, as they feel a slice of their story has been told by one of their own. So, for the most part, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness of my fellow Afghans. There are, however, those who have called the book divisive and objected to some of the issues raised in the book, namely racism, discrimination, ethnic inequality etc." In addition to the deep feelings Hosseini's first novel aroused in the hearts of fellow Afghans, it also spurred a more lighthearted response, the resurgence of interest in kite fighting in America. The American invasion of Afghanistan may have 'put Afghanistan on the map' for Americans, but The Kite Runner goes farther by giving a detailed, human account of life and survival there. Its author continues this service to the world by serving as an activist in addition to writing. Hosseini has said, "If this book generates any sort of dialogue among Afghans, then I think it will have done a service to the community." As we know The Kite Runner has sparked conversation among Afghans and countless other groups of people worldwide. It is not such a surprise to Hosseini's admirers that a physician, accustomed to caring for people's bodies, has made such a graceful transition to caring for their histories and spirits.
The movie is acted largely in English, although many (subtitled) scenes are in Dari, which I learn is an Afghan dialect of Farsi, or Persian. The performances by the actors playing Amir and Hassan as children are natural, convincing and powerful; recently I have seen several such child performances that adults would envy for their conviction and strength. Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, as young Hassan, is particularly striking, with his serious, sometimes almost mournful face. (The boy now fears Afghan reprisals for appearing in the rape scene, and the producers have helped to relocate him.)
At this point, the teacher can help the students to examine how the Hazara in Afghanistan, like Hassan, have been used as pawns and scapegoats by the economically and socially superior Pashtuns, Sunni Muslims, who have used the Hazaras’ ethnicity and religion, Shi’a Muslims, against them. Evidence of this in the book can be supported with details of actual events in Afghanistan that are glossed over in the book. For example, when referring to the massacre of Hazaras that happened in 1998, the book merely says: “in 1998, they massacred the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif” (Hosseini 213). The teacher should take this opportunity to supplement the students with reading information and discussion to examine in depth the significant role that class and ethnic status, which goes hand in hand with class in Afghanistan, plays in the country. A good example of this would be the following excerpt from an article examining the massacre: