The cover of this week’s Time Magazine is, no doubt about it, genuinely a shocker, showing as it does a lovely young Afghan woman. Lovely that is, but for the yawning orifice in the middle of her face where her nose should be. As the text explains,young Aisha had run away from husband and abusive in-laws. Caught, the local Taliban commander ordered her to be punished. Her brother-in-law held her down while her husband took a knife and first cut off her ears and then her nose as she writhed and screamed before her village folk. According to Time’s Managing Editor Richard Stengel, Aisha is now in a secret place, cared for by NGO Women for Afghanistan. Shortly she will be flown to the States for restorative surgery at the Grossman Burn Foundation.
What is most interesting and truly quite disturbing is that the media to date seems to have completely overlooked this story. Well, not totally. The NYTimes’ Alessandra Stanley leads her review today of Christiane Amanpour’s first appearance as the new host of ABC’s Sunday morning news program by describing her nailing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi by brandishing that copy of Time in front of her face. Ms. Pelosi recoiled and looked away in visible shock, as Ms. Amanpour asked her,”Is America going to abandon the women of Afghanistan?” Granted that was challengening question, but no more than that posed by the cover line on that issue of Time: “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan?”
On the other hand, The Washington Post’s Tom Shales devoted his review of Ms. Amanpour’s program to roundly criticizing both her and content of her program. The head on the story read: “The Superstar Who Did Not Shine on ‘This Week,” but nary a word on the exchange about Time Magazine although Shales did indulge in gratuitous digs in the course of his review, referring to Ms. Amanpour as “a globe-trotting Fancy-Pants.” There was no comment from the Wall Street Journal.
Obviously, the question Time raises on its cover today raises considerable questions of its own, but surely the mutilated visage of a young woman on a national publication surely merits more than virtual silence.
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