Asne Seierstad 'does not understand Afghan values'
30th July 2010
The ruling that Norwegian journalist
Asne Seierstad has to pay punitive damages to a woman she wrote
about is fair, author and humanitarian aid worker
Conor Foley has argued.
Earlier this week, an Oslo district court decided that Seierstad
will have to pay more than GBP 26,000 to Suraia Rais for defaming
her in bestseller The
Bookseller of Kabul.
Writing in the Guardian, The Thin
Blue Line author Foley said that Seierstad's revelations
of intimate details about the family show she did not understand
the values of Afghan society, such as 'namos' - the requirement to
protect the virtuousness of female members.
'The idea that you could accept someone's hospitality and then
spy on them to violate their namos is completely shocking and makes
a mockery of all her other claims of insight into the society in
which she was living,' he asserted.
Foley also claimed that Seierstad cannot use the defence of
cultural immunity for the book, as it appears to have been written
with the intention of providing a 'vicarious kick' to readers.
Per Danielson, the Rais family's lawyer, also told the
Guardian that the case will be important to the publishing
world, as it shows people in poorer countries can successfully sue
those in rich nations who have defamed them.