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A new way for Afghan women to battle abuse

February 18, 2011

A woman at an interview on 'The Mask'

Writer: Meera Vijayann

Frankly, I was quite surprised. And what I found  more surprising was that the person behind this idea, was a man. Horror stories about the treatment of women in Afghanistan are not new to many. In fact, it is pretty commonplace in India, in many parts of Africa and the Middle East. Religious societies often tend to be harsher on women; taking away basic rights to education, grossly violating human rights and justifying domestic and physical abuse in the name of religion.

Afghanistan’s new TV show ‘Niqab’ (meaning ‘The Mask’), created by Sami Mahdi is a revolutionary program of sorts for one reason. He transformed the idea of what it means to be behind a mask throughout your life. While the show has women talking about the abuse and violence they have faced in their lives, there is something strangely familiar with the concept itself: why is it that these women were more comfortable behind a mask? Then it struck me that this story is especially personal to everyone because it is also suggestive of human nature (which is incapable of  truly standing face to  face with the society that governs it) and how comfortable we are ‘not‘ being ourselves, as we are constantly aware of being ‘watched’ by the world around.

The women who come forward on the show have heart-breaking stories to narrate. And needless to say, it strikes a chord with people around the world, not just because we have our hearts in the right place but because we face the same thing  in each of our lives in many different ways.

Original article: CNN.Com – Battling Abuse From Behind A Mask

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