Friday, February 27, 2009

"Class Dismissed" - Short documentary on Swat Valley, Pakistan

After watching this 14 minute documentary chronicling the last hours before an 11-year old girl's public school in Swat Valley, Pakistan, is closed, I must say, I am very saddened and depressed by the whole situation. I've been reading news about how schools are closing down, week after week, by the dozens, but it never really hits you until you see visuals. Thanks to the documentary, I now appreciate the struggle of women the world over who yearn to be educated.

Ziauddin is not your typical male, and his daughter - or family, in general - are not your typical family. He is a social activist who wants his daughter to be a politician. She, on the other hand, wants to be a doctor. And both dont want to leave Swat! I salute their courage. Not much is left of their once serene valley. I had the pleasure of visiting the northern areas of Pakistan, specifically Swat and some other cities nearby, in 2001, and was blown away. Such beauty! Those images will be eteched in my mind forever.

Tragically, Balakot - the city which is traditionally considered a gateway to the North - was destroyed nearly completely in the October 2005 earthquake. And Swat - well, we know what's happening there now.

My hope is that the New York Times and other media outlets continue to focus on this story. No one should ever live in fear. Please take a moment to thank the Times for this video. I dont agree with a lot of their journalistic viewpoints and policies, but when any one does good, a little encouragement goes a long way.