Wednesday, June 22, 2005

fwd: Shaima Rezayee

Subject: Shaima Rezayee
Date: Jun 16, 2005

> Shaima Rezayee
> By Daud Qarizadah
> Wednesday June 15, 2005
> Guardian (london)
> The television presenter Shaima Rezayee, who has been murdered in her
> home in Kabul aged 24, briefly became an icon for many Afghan youth.
> She was part of a generation in transition, caught between the
> Taliban's medieval politics, and the media revolution that has
> engulfed Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
> She was brought up in a relatively poor but open-minded family of the
> Shia Hazara minority in the Afghan northern city of Sar-e-Pol. Her
> sister was also one of the first few Afghan women athletes. She
> became known worldwide for representing Afghanistan in the 2004
> Athens Olympics.
> Shaima lived in exile in Pakistan, when the Taliban, who came to
> power in 1996, put an end to television broadcasts, smashed
> television sets, banned music, destroyed archives, burned videos and
> tapes, and stopped women from working. Her family, like many hundreds
> of thousands of Afghan refugees, returned to Afghanistan and settled
> in Kabul after the Taliban's fall.
> Shaima's enthusiasm and youthful exuberance pushed her to the world
> of Afghan television. She left school early and joined Tolo, Kabul's
> first private television station, in 2004. Soon she became the idol
> of young people who were mesmerised by her programme, HOP.
> A world apart from Afghanistan's traditional, burka-clad society,
> Shaima and her two male co-presenters laughed away with their
> innocent flirtations. This defied the mindset of those who cannot
> accept a woman showing her face publicly, let alone sit next to other
> young people in a television studio presenting a music programme. It
> was one of the few music programmes to attract young Afghans, for
> whom not much entertainment is available.
> Shaima's HOP programme broadcast western, Iranian, Indian, Turkish,
> Arabic and Afghan music. This show, as well as many other TV
> programmes, is an affront to religious conservatives. They have
> strongly attacked films and TV music programmes as anti-Islamic and
> immoral. Even state television waited for more than two years before
> daring to broadcast some classical Afghan female singers.
> Shaima defied these conventions. Her daring, relaxed female gesturing
> on the show - that would be considered so tame in the west - and her
> choice of clothing, such as hats and jeans, was also heavily attacked
> by religious leaders and conservative clerics.
> Despite the symbolic re-emergence of women in public and their
> presence in the media, there remain many restrictions for women
> working in media. Shaima was sacked by Tolo TV in March: allegedly,
> her personality did not meet its requirements.
> She is survived by her parents, two sisters and two brothers.
> · Shaima Rezayee, television presenter, born 1981; died May 18 2005
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