August 4, 2010

Afghan woman symbolizes war stakes

Till date the famous Steve McCurry photograph of a young Afghan girl that adorned the cover of National Geographic magazine was the most memorable photo of green-eyed Afghan Girl which he clicked at some refugee camp in Pakistan.
But now there is another Afghan Girl photograph which has not only set to become memorable from my point of view but also raise questions on the fate of women in the war torn country. The two photographs taken by different individuals make your cerebrum work hard to look into the pain the individuals gone through in their own respective lives. It is not a mere photo to appreciate but life story to feel.
The face on the cover of Time magazine is graceful, composed and unthinkably maimed. The heart-shaped hole where 18-year-old Aisha's nose should be is a mark of Taliban justice _ a visceral illustration, the headline suggests, of "what happens if we leave Afghanistan."
The portrait has quickly becoming a symbol of the stakes of a nearly decade-old war. For me the photo is disturbing on so many levels but I think that it was completely necesaary, unfortunately. Interestingly, while I was reading comments on websites about the photo I found many people terming the cover page as avoidable and out-cried that the photo might affect children.
If the response proves it's still possible for pictures to provoke a visually saturated culture, it also shows how much viewers have come to accept graphic images.
Under orders from a Taliban commander acting as a judge, Aisha's nose and ears were sliced off last year as punishment for fleeing her husband's home, according to Time's story and other accounts. She said she fled to escape her in-laws' beatings and abuse.
Now in a women's shelter, she is set to get reconstructive surgery in the U.S., with the help of Time, humanitarian organizations and others.
Aisha posed for the Time cover photo because she wanted readers to see the potential consequences of a Taliban resurgence, the magazine said. Prominent Afghan women have expressed concerns that a potential government reconciliation with the insurgents could cost them freedoms they have gained since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the former Taliban regime.


kavitha said...

so sad on her part, wish she gets her face back

Dinesh Akula said...

she is going to USA for a nose surgery. Hope she would be fine.

Jameela said...

Nicely put in comparing the symbolism about the girls in the two pictures. It's great to read she will get reconstructive surgery. Yet this violence against women is not just in Afghanistan.

As you know there is violence & 'honour killings' against women in marriage (if their dowry isn't enough or they're accused of adultery or running away) from impoverished villages in India. Does this them mean the allies should start war on India? No of course not. In fact this type of abuse of women happens around the globe. See Robert Fisk's article:

As you imply in your blog things have not improved and you should check out the great Afghani politician Malalai Joya. She rallies on despite a price on her head from the Taliban.

Jameela said...

She has a new nose and looks great,