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Pakistan Acid Victims Fear Backlash Over Film

From the Agence France-Presse:

Pakistan acid women fear backlash over Oscar film

By Jennie Matthew
May 23, 2012

Survivors of acid attacks whose plight became the focus of an Oscar-winning documentary now fear ostracism and reprisals if the film is broadcast in Pakistan.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made history earlier this year when she won Pakistan’s first Oscar, feted across the country for exposing the horrors endured by women whose faces are obliterated in devastating acid attacks.

Her 40-minute film focuses on Zakia and Rukhsana as they fight to rebuild their lives after being attacked by their husbands, and British Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad who tries to help repair their shattered looks.

When "Saving Face" scooped a coveted gold statuette in the documentary category in Hollywood in February, campaigners were initially jubilant.

The Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan (ASF) had cooperated on the film but some survivors now fear a backlash in a deeply conservative society — and are taking legal action against the producers.

Oh, those "conservatives."

"We had no idea it would be a hit and win an Oscar. It’s completely wrong. We never allowed them to show this film in Pakistan," said Naila Farhat, 22, who features fleetingly in the documentary.

She was 13 when the man she refused to marry threw acid in her face as she walked home from Independence Day celebrations. She lost an eye and her attacker was jailed for 12 years

"This is disrespect to my family, to my relatives and they’ll make an issue of it. You know what it’s like in Pakistan. They gossip all the time if they see a woman in a film," said Farhat, taut skin where her left eye dissolved.

Maybe this should be an issue.

Where is the outrage? Where is NOW?

"We may be in more danger and we’re scared that, God forbid, we could face the same type of incident again. We do not want to show our faces to the world."

Lawyer Naveed Muzaffar Khan, whom ASF hired to represent the victims, said legal notices were sent to Obaid-Chinoy and fellow producer Daniel Junge on Friday…

"They (survivors) were absolutely clear in their mind in not allowing any public screening as that would jeopardise their life in Pakistan and make it difficult for them to continue to live in their villages," he told AFP

Many of the women are routinely threatened by their husbands or relatives and it is a television broadcast that they particularly fear.

"The accessibility is so wide scale, the chances are their lives are going to be threatened," said the lawyer, Khan…

[Some critics] believe the film was too sensational and question whether it really will make a difference to the survivors struggling to live in Pakistan, where there are scores of such attacks each year.

After all, what’s wrong with using acid to punish women or to keep them in line? And so what if it happens twenty or so times every year in Pakistan?

Why ‘sensationalize’ it?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Pakistan Acid Victims Fear Backlash Over Film”

  1. yadayada says:

    “fear ostracism and reprisals if the film is broadcast in Pakistan.”
    broadcast? or released? the film is already released. once the movie is in the public arena anywhere, it’s everywhere.
    haven’t these people heard of internet?
    maybe all the libtard hollywoodites can chip in $10 grand or so each to move those poor women to another country?
    after all, they “were initially jubilant” when the film garnered an oscar.

    it may sound callous, but any reprisals they suffer are a direct consequence of their behavior.
    if they didn’t want their people to know they were in a film, maybe they shouldn’t have done it.
    I don’t favor throwing acid in anyone’s face, but isn’t that one facet of the society they crave?
    in islam women are property. this behavior isn’t tolerated in societies where women abhor this type of thinking.
    a VERY small minority of NAGs have completely changed the way Americans behave toward women. if 50% of muslim women turned against their mistreatment (I believe) islam, as we currently know it, would cease to exist.

  2. canary says:

    uh oh… for New York Times and Smith College who gave grants to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who proudly showed her Oscar and gave a speech.

    Poor women don’t realize that ASF mislead them.

    And the media giving the name of a 22 year old women who appeared in the film, unless she asked them to use it.

    Pakistan can read the news. duh.

    “She petitioned Smith College and New York Times Television production division for the grants that would allow her to accomplish her goals. Intrigued by her story, both organizations gave her the funds as well as production equipment and training.

    Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, is an Emmy and Oscar award-winning Pakistani-Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker. She won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010. She is also the first non-American to win the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. On 26 February 2012 Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Oscar for her documentary film, Saving Face. She has been lauded as Pakistan’s first female Oscar winner by the press and government. In fact, she is Pakistan’s second Oscar winner after Mir Zafar Ali, who won an Oscar in 2007.
    Time magazine has named Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy within their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2012


    Her ambition to do something for her country started by writing coloums[sic] in newspapers about the forlorn and unfortunate events happening in Pakistan. Later, she came into the film making industry so that she could convey her message to the public. Obaid-Chinoy’s career in documentary filmmaking began when she examined the plight of Afghan refugee children in Pakistan for an articles. Their situation was so dire, and their stories so compelling, that Obaid-Chinoy decided to return to Pakistan and create a film about them. She petitioned Smith College and New York Times Television production division for the grants that would allow her to accomplish her goals. Intrigued by her story, both organizations gave her the funds as well as production equipment and training.
    Description above from the Wikipedia article Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.

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