Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Friday, March 4, 2011

Veiled brutality

Since 9/11, Afghanistan has become a country that is very well-known, spoken about and reported on in so many contexts around the world on a daily basis, yet at the same time so veiled, especially when it comes to women's issues. Only a few women have had the opportunity to share their stories of abuse (at the hands of their husbands, brothers, fathers, etc.) with a wider audience. When Bibi Aisha, a young woman from Afghanistan, appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in August 2010, photographed by Jodie Bieber, she became a symbol of the brutal violence that many Afghan women have to deal with. 

“I don’t know if it will help other women or not,” she said, her hand going instinctively to cover the hole in the middle of her face, as it does whenever strangers look directly at her. “I just want to get my nose back.” 

Since appearring on TIME, the process of reconstructing her nose has started. But will a new nose solve all her problems? Of course not. The unveiling of this form of abuse against women has sparked a lot of interest. Yet, do people who live in societies where this does not happen really care about this issue a day or a week after they read about it? Most people are horrified when they see Bibi's face and think about what happened to her. But how can one improve these women's situation? Luckily, hidden acts of rebellion are always employed in the midst of any regime. For example, the Afghan women's resistance against extreme patriarchy. Check out this reportage of Afghan women on National Geographic's website, called Veiled Rebellion:

 Below is a video of Bibi's story:

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