Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bibi Aisha

Note added October 15, 2010: Web surfers, you can see the images of Aisha as she looks today here.

I'm sure few readers of my blog will ever forget the haunting face of Bibi Aisha. The August 9th issue of Time magazine ponders the fate of women living under Taliban rule if the US pulls out of Afghanistan. The Afghan government is in negotiation with the Taliban. And who can blame them. Bibi Aisha is reportedly horrified at the prospect.

"How can we reconcile with them?" she asks, touching her face.

As my readers will recall, Aisha's Talib husband cut off her ears and nose because she ran away from his house. Where his family had tried to beat her to death. Her punishment, to be disfigured and left to die, was adjudicated by a local Taliban justice.

How, indeed, can the Karzai government reconcile with a group that condones treatment of any human being in such a fashion?

Time's courageous use of Aisha on its cover brings the plight of women like Aisha to the forefront.

You can read an abridged version of the Time article through the link above. But I encourage you to watch Jodi Bieber's moving short video on photographing Aisha for the cover:

In addition you can see a photo gallery by Jodi Bieber featuring some of the bravest women on the planet- Afghan legislators, dissidents, survivors, here.

Aisha is in the US at present, finally having the reconstructive surgery for which Women for Afghan Women has fought so hard. CNN journalist Atia Abawi will continue to update us on Aisha's progress.

Atia Abawi and Bibi Aisha, CNN

I cannot help thinking of my own daughter, only slightly older than Aisha, and wondering how anyone could harm another human being as Aisha has been harmed. It simply beggars description in my mind.

Safe travels and swift healing to this brave survivor.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010


  1. Marzie~I was just reading this article today, and I thought this was one of the young women that you had posted about. Kudos to Time magazine for running this article and even more so for putting Bibi Aisha on the cover. The world needs to see the craziness. It is horrifying.

  2. Ann Jones, author of "War Is Not Over When It’s Over: Women and the Unseen Consequences of Conflict", says SHAME on Time for using this personal tragedy to make a political argument for war, in this interview:

  3. tbowler, thanks so much for your comment and for the link.

    I honestly think it's a tough call but I do believe that Time magazine did the right thing in putting her on the cover. Americans are entirely too insulated from the horrors endured by women elsewhere on this planet. And I believe we have a responsibility to Afghanistan. We walked into that country with a seemingly very just cause post-9/11 but what have we really done there? I don't think it's a war issue so much as a responsibility issue at this point. By fighting a war on two fronts and maintaining a far greater presence in Iraq for what can only be considered in retrospect as an unjust cause with an absolutely horrific Iraqi civilian death toll, we abdicated our responsibility to Afganistan and especially to the women of Afghanistan.

    I don't know what we can do to set things right in Afghanistan at this point, but what I do know is that I think people need to know exactly but exactly what we leave behind.

    We said were were going in there to make things better, to free the Afghani people from the shackles of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, to avenge 9/11.

    We lied. At least about everything other than the vengeance part.