Monday, January 26, 2009

The Afghan girl

"Sharbat has never known a happy day, her brother says, except perhaps the day of her marriage."

Neither has she ever felt safe. Sharbat Gula is the Afghan girl with the green eyes pictured on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Since then, she has lost her parents, married, and is raising three daughters (a fourth died in infancy). She lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan, but returned to Afghanistan, which has now been at war for 30 years.

She was a nameless refugee when the photo was taken, but was found in 2002 by original photographer Steve McCurry. She answered McCurry's questions, but was forbidden to smile at a man who was not a family member. A female producer photographed her for the second time in her life. She had not seen the photo of herself as a girl and did not understand how moving it was. Although pleased that she has become a symbol of strength, she has returned to anonymity.

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