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International

In the tradition of the international bestsellers Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody and Desert Flower by Waris Dirie, Hidden Bars tells the shocking true story of a young woman's search for her lost mother and her struggle for self-hood and respect within a culture that brutally suppresses women's aspirations, rights and freedoms. Hameeda Lakho was brought to Holland as a four year old, a member of an immigrant family from Pakistan. Her father soon reveals a violent and tyrannical nature, beating and abusing the girls and their mother with impunity in keeping with the iron code of his land that women should endure any punishment or humiliation in silent obedience to men.

Hameeda's mother has nowhere to turn – she is a stranger in a foreign land and cannot understand or trust the ways of a modern European society. He finally commits the cruellest act of all: he banishes the mother and the youngest child to Pakistan and lies to Hameeda and her sisters, telling them that their mother has died in car crash. Years of terror, humiliations, isolation and abuse forced Hameeda to flee the house at a young age. Their lives are reduced to that of virtual slaves as the cycle of abuse grows, until there is no option but to run away and stay in orphanages or on the road, always the outsider without hope of home and acceptance. But when Hameeda learns that her mother is actually alive, her life in infused with purpose. She works to bring her mother to Holland and takes the daring and unprecedented step of suing her father in the Dutch courts for the years of suffering at his hands.

Hameeda relates her story of living between two cultures with exceptional eloquence, insight and tremendous emotion, discussing the different kinds of `prisons' she has endured and survived – her inner alienation and separation from her mother, as well as the lonely disconnection of the immigrant experience. The result is a remarkably moving and profound portrait of a woman who has spent her whole life searching for the family relationships she was cruelly denied at an early age.

She wrote the bestsellers Hidden Bars, Broken Circle, Hitting Home and Help Yourself. Rights were sold to prominent publishers. Hameeda Lakho received a royal honorary medal as a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau for her outstanding achievements.


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What makes HIDDEN BARS so special?

Hidden Bars opens a window on the modern immigrant experience: the expectations versus the often grim reality, the clash of Eastern and Western value-systems, the loneliness of existing between two worlds, not truly belonging to either, the psychological unease and fear generated by being “invisible”, a “stranger” in Western society.

  • Like Betty Mahmoody landmark best-seller, NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER, Hameeda's account is, above all, a powerfully emotional true story of the unbreakable bond of love between mother and daughter.
  • As in Waris Dirie's highly popular DESERT FLOWER, the reader follows a young woman's harrowing struggle to escape a culture that suppresses and abuses women and create for herself a life of dignity and self-esteem.
  • In the tradition of such memoirists as Elizabeth Kim (TEN THOUSAND SARROWS) and Mark Mathabane (KAFFIR BOY and MIRIAM'S SONG), Hameeda's voice is honest, warm, clear, outgoing, filled with the wisdom and strength that her experiences have empowered her with.