Friday, February 11, 2011

For Aisha -- A Debt of Justice

A Debt of Justice

Note the unbearably dignified expression of the young woman, the brutally disfigured 18-year old Aisha, whose portrait by Jodi Bieber is appropriately awarded 2011 World Press Photo of the Year.

Aisha looks out at each of us, especially We her Sisters, and those of us who feel community with her, are fortunate to have developed the gift for empathy.

Please don't use ' Bibi' as a term of address for Aisha for it means 'wife' a form of servitude for many millions of women in many parts of the world. Call her girl, woman, not wife for wife proved to be a sentence, not a role or status.

The Taliban, under whose instruction allegedly, her husband and brother-in-law mutilated Aisha's face, cut off her nose and ears to humiliate and degrade her, to make her the butt of cruel comments, these criminals protected by patriarchy, lack access to Aisha's unflinching spirit as she faces the camera and calls to us.

She now lives in the US (where exactly I don't know, and that's fine, her privacy must be respected while she makes her life-changing transition), her nose and ears have been reconstructed and she is undergoing rehabilitation, which possibly included psychotherapy.

We owe Aisha a debt of Justice. Where are her perpetrators?

Chithra KarunaKaran

City University of New York

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

NYTimes copyright

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