Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

The woman journalists in Pakistan are few, yet bold, infused with initiative, courage and will to face the cruel world around and report about miseries and cries of the poor and the ones being wronged by the rich and powerful, like Razia Bhatti, Qatrina Hussain, Naseem Zehra, Sana Bucha, Ayesha Habib and like. All have withstood the pressures and gained acclaim both home and abroad. Razia Bhatti was awarded the famous Courage in Journalism Award in 1994 alongwith Christiana Amanpour of CNN and Kathrine Graham of the Washington Post.

Like her colleagues, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is one such bold journalist, filmmaker and documentarian, who has not only written many articles about Pakistan and many other countries of Africa and the Muslim world about the plight of women, children and the refugees, but has also used her talent in filmmaking to show to the world the destructive and heinous face of crime, specially when it comes to acid throwing on helpless women in countries, including Pakistan. And it is one of this effort of hers in the form of 52 minutes long documentary 'Saving Face' that has won her and her country Pakistan the first ever Oscar award at the 84 Academy Awards ceremony held on 26 February 2012. The beaming and jubilant Sharmeen raised her Oscar award and dedicated it to the women of Pakistan amid loud roar of applause by the audience. The film has been co-directed by American filmmaker Daniel Junge.

Sharmeen and co-director 'Saving Face' Daniel holding their Oscars at 84th Academy Awards

The film is a fine tribute to Sharmeen, who despite being a woman, dared to pick up this inhuman practice as  subject for her short subject documentary 'Saving Face' and went to limitless end to research the issue by interviewing countless acid victims for making her documentary.

Sharmeen while co-directing a documentary film titled “Saving Face” with Daniel Junge

Sharmeen was born in Karachi in 1978 and had her basic education from the famous Karachi Grammar School. She then graduated from the Smith College in Economics and Government. But it is here masters in  International Policy Studies and in Communication from the Stanford University that paved way for her future in journalism and filmmaking.

Obaid rose to the frontline journalism when on behalf of the New York Times Television, she produced 'Terror's Children', a film about the Afghan refugee children, which won her the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women and Radio and Television Award, and the South Asian Journalist Association Award. This was the beginning and since then, Sharmeen has never rested. In 2003 her documentary 'Reinventing the Talibanwas awarded the Special Jury Award at the BANFF TV festival in Canada, the CINE Golden Eagle Award, the American Women in Radio and Television award, and the Livingston Award. In 2005, her film 'Women of the Holy Kingdom,' which provided an inside look at the women's movement in Saudi Arabia, won the South Asian Journalist Association Award. In 2005, while working with Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, her 'Pakistan's Double Game' looked at sectarian violence in Pakistan, 'City of Guiltexplored the Catholic Church's pro-life movement in the Philippines, 'The New Apartheidlooked into growing xenophobia in South Africa, and 'Birth of a Nationdelved' into the politics of East Timor. In 2007, Sharmeen was named "Journalist of the Year" by the One World Media awards for her work in the series. became the first non-American to win the Livingston Award.

It is both sad and happy occasion that a women of the soil wins Pakistan's its first ever Oscar on a documentary film that is about a heinous crime committed in Pakistan - the acid throwing, mostly targeting women - and is thе  ѕtοrу οf two women frοm Southern Punjab whο were victims οf acid violence and their battle for justice and their journey of healing.. Although there are no reliable national statistics, but as per an estimate more than hundred cases are reported of people attacked with acid, majority of the victims being women. The figure could even increase if all incidents are reported and registered. The crime is generally committed against wives by the carried out in the family home, by husbands or in-laws or by failed lovers. The life of the acid victims is a nightmare for the rest of their lives living with dis-configured faces, burnt bodies and scars. Acid throwing menace not only happens in Pakistan but most East Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

The  33-year-old has devoted herself since the last decade in documenting the lives of Pakistan ‘s most vulnerable. shaping and sharing their stories with the rest of the world on a mission for hope. Let us hope that the awareness she has created through this documentary brings a change in the attitude of our people and help stop the violence against women.

"Five of Obaid-Chinoy's films concern her native Pakistan, but she has also made documentaries about women in Saudi Arabia, Native American women in Canada, illegal abortions in Philippines, Muslims in Sweden and the ill-treatment of Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa. Her portfolio is a global tour of gender oppression and social injustice." writes Paul Hoggart, The Guardian (June 4, 2007)


Related Articles: | Sharmeen Obiad Films | Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (Wikipedia) | Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's Saving Face wins first ever Oscar for Pakistan |

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