Hello. It’s been a while. We’re sorry we’ve been scarce. Things just got a little hectic here. We’re buried in work… slowly trying to dig our way out. And of course we’re still reeling from the outcome of Vui Kong’s case. Mad, sad May. We’re hoping June will be a little better.
We also spent a good chunk of May in Bangladesh, making a TV documentary. The shoot was hectic, the subject matter, heartrending. Towards the end of our trip, I turned to our Bangladeshi fixer and told him I thought it sucked to be a woman in his country. I think he was a little offended. But by then, I didn’t care.
We’d just spent days listening to some truly horrendous stories –
18-year old Ahki, disfigured for life because her husband decided to pour acid on her.
Tamanna, who after enduring two years of verbal and physical abuse from her husband and in-laws, was found hanging from a ceiling fan.
Taslima, whose husband beat her, tried to drown her in a canal when she was pregnant, used a towel to strangle her, kicked her… and when all that failed to kill her, he broke one of her arms while his relatives broke the other.
Mukti, whose parents showed us the only two pictures they have of her. One, an out-of-focus passport shot. The other, a photo of her, dead.
So what happened to these women? Apparently, they were abused by their husbands because of their families’ failure to provide them with big enough dowries.
What’s truly depressing though is that these are not isolated cases. The numbers are shocking. At least 196 women died in dowry-related violence in Bangladesh in 2009. That’s four a week. One, every other day. God knows how many more cases go unreported.
Prior to the shoot, we thought it was all a question of greed. But after meeting and talking to victims, their families, alleged perpetrators and activists, we’ve realized the situation is far more complex. I won’t go into detail here. Watch our film. It airs on Al Jazeera English on the 24th of June. We’ll post the YouTube link as soon as it becomes available.
Also, The Maestro’s Daughters airs on Al Jazeera English this Sunday. Catch it if you can.
We leave for Pyongyang on Friday, to continue a shoot we started back in September last year. This trip’s going to be amazing. Updates and photos when we get back.