To Darkness

While the Presidential candidates debate over how to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, women in that country face a day-to-day worsening situation, in which they still suffer from domestic violence, are killed in "honor murders," used to pay off debt, denied basic education and health care, and commit suicide to escape a life in which there is little or no reflection of their basic human worth.

A reminder of the plight of Afghani women comes through a "Hero" award just granted to Denise Zabalaga, a Swiss photographer and filmmaker who traveled alone through the country witnessing and documenting women's oppression after the fall of the Taliban.

Denise Zabalaga, Swiss photographer and filmmaker

"This was an obvious choice," says Ann Medlock, Director of the award-granting Giraffe Project, which commends individuals around the world who 'stick their neck out' for the common good. "Denise's courage is inspiring, and the world cannot forget the women of Afghanistan."

To earn her "risk-taking" award, Zabalaga left behind her job as a photo editor in New York in 2002 to travel alone through post-Taliban Afghanistan to discover what had happened to women after their so-called liberation. How far had conditions changed for women in Afghanistan?

To prepare for her journey, Denise spent three months in Iran studying Persian. Then she crossed the border.

"I was a foreigner wearing a chador, speaking their language – a woman traveling alone. This was very difficult – and yet I trusted that I would be all right," she says.

Once in the country...

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Comments on "Women's oppression in Afghanistan"

Binita P. January 14, 2011 | 4:51 AM

Absolutely Fantastic article.Loved the details. keep up the good work!

Watandar February 26, 2010 | 7:18 AM

Imediate action must find place for those women/girls in afghanistan.. They have suffered enough, and if we don't do anything they will continue suffering because of those animals (taliban) in afghanistan.

Chloe B. November 14, 2008 | 8:31 PM

It's amazing how she took something so terribly sad and found this beauty in it. I'd love to see more of her photography on the site!

Ella October 11, 2008 | 7:25 PM

these photos are amazing!

alisonbills October 06, 2008 | 10:36 AM

I definitely agree. We're glad you've reached out to us with this critical issue, Hilary! We'll look forward to working with you again in the future as you continute to shine the light on other important matters for our SheKnows readers!

wmbrainerd October 03, 2008 | 5:05 AM

Great article. More attention needs to be brought to the horific situation women in Afghanistan are in.

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