In Zarbul Masalha, Captain Edward Zellem has done an excellent job collecting and setting forth 151 Afghan Dari proverbs. While this may be self evident with the title of the book, Zellem has done a lot more than simply collect a group of phrases. The book is laid out in a consistent format with the proverb typed in Dari, followed by a literal English translation, and then by a line or two telling the reader what the proverb actually means. On several pages he includes a drawing done by the students at a local high school. Besides the collection of proverbs, the book includes a number of pages in which the author provides more of an explanation for a few of the proverbs, talks about the local high school, and a little about his experiences with the Afghan people. There is also a collection of photographs of the school, students, and others mentioned or affiliated with the book. I liked this book, and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Afghan culture or in the collection of proverbs.
Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2013)
Captain Edward Zellem has served as a United States Navy officer for 25 years. A trained Dari speaker, he worked side-by-side with Afghans every day for a year and a half in Kabul and Kandahar, including a year inside Afghanistan's Presidential Palace. While in Afghanistan he collected and used Dari Proverbs every day in his professional life, in the streets and back alleys of Kabul, and in other parts of the country.
He became fascinated by the colorfulness and cultural relevancy of Dari Proverbs, and began collecting, translating and transliterating them into English. After art students at a Kabul high school created illustrations, his collection became "Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs"