On Oscar night, the plight of women victims of Islamic honour killings takes centre stage
The Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject went to Pakistani journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who goes after ‘blood money’ and the abuse of women in ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’. For her, there is no place for such perversions in Islam. Prime Minister Sharif says he will “rid Pakistan of this evil”.
Los Angeles (AsiaNews) – A Pakistani documentary about honour killing in the Muslim world has captured a place of honour in the movie world’s foremost event.
The Oscar for the Best Documentary Short Subject went to A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness by Pakistani journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, which slams blood money and the abuse of women in Pakistan.
The director was the co-winner in the Best Documentary Short Subject category in 2012 with Saving Faces, a film about acid attacks against women in Pakistan. This year, her winning film is based on a true story, which she personally followed.
The story is about Saba Qaiser, 19, who married the man she loved against the wishes of her family. Shortly after the marriage, her father and uncle took her on the bank of a river, shot her in the head, put her into a plastic bag and dumped her in the river, convinced that they had killed her.
However, Saba miraculously survived, and managed to drag herself to the nearest village, where she was taken to a hospital and saved by a doctor who over the following months reconstructed parts of her face that had been disfigured by the gunshot.
After her father and uncle were taken into custody, Saba came under enormous pressure from the community, to the point that she decided to forgive them, which under Pakistani law meant they could be released.
The film looks at events from Saba’s point of view, whom the director knows personally.
According to the Pakistani government, about 1,000 women are murdered in honour killings every year; other sources put the number of victims “at least 4,000.”
In her acceptance speech, the director said, “This is what happens when determined women get together.” For her, there is no place in Islam for such shameful practices. Such a terrible reality should be abolished.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Obaid-Chinoy a week before the Oscars. The director screened the film at his private residence in the presence of some members of the Pakistani Senate and National Assembly.
Afterwards, Sharif in a statement vowed to “rid Pakistan of this evil by bringing in appropriate legislation.”