Share This

Google+ Badge

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Afghanistan - Girlpower!

Kitman TV

hanks to Snaphanen

From ABC

Even in war-weary Afghanistan and its endless unfolding catalogue of horror, the case of a 15 year old girl named Sahar Gul shocked and ashamed many Afghans as they watched television images of her limp and bruised form being carried to hospital ER.
The teenager had just been rescued from weeks of imprisonment and torture at the hands of her husband’s family. Sahar Gul had been sold to the family to pay a debt but she refused to become a prostitute to bring in more money. She was cut, burned with cigarettes, beaten to a pulp and many of her fingernails were ripped out. She was barely alive when police found her.

Across town, another teenager refused to look away and dismiss the attack as just another incident in a country where - even after the ultra-misogyny of the Taliban has retreated into isolated pockets - the plight of women remains desperate and downtrodden.

Noorjahan Akbar added Sahar Gul to her casebook.

“I think when you are born a woman in Afghanistan you are taught every day to hate yourself. We don’t know how to respect women, neither men nor women , no one knows it, women don’t respect themselves.” NOORJAHAN AKBAR, Activist.

When Foreign Correspondent’s Trevor Bormann accompanies Noorjahan on a visit to Sahar’s hospital ward a profoundly moving meeting unfolds. A deep friendship has developed between the two and Noorjahan spends time consoling and encouraging Sahar, even treating her mangled fingers to a manicure.

Can a 19 year old change an age old order in Afghanistan? Well, she’s not alone. Australian TV producer Trudi-Ann Tierney has witnessed a groundswell of aspiration and a push for change among the young women she encounters in her role as head of drama at Kabul’s Tolo TV and elsewhere in the capital.

“I see now a generation of amazing young women who are so progressive and smart and determined to make a change and to sustain change within society.” TRUDI-ANN TIERNEY, Head of Drama, Tolo TV

Nevertheless, when we visit Trudi-Ann she’s in the thick of a crisis. A leading actress has fled the country after threats from her extended family, embarrassed by her professional pursuits.

Through the eyes of the young teenager and those of the outsider this is a confronting but ultimately inspiring story of emerging female power in Afghanistan.