Silent Veil
Staring out through melted eyelids, semi-blind and with her nose completely disintegrated, 21-year-old Irum Saeed tells the story of the day she lost her face. "The boy threw acid at me because he could not tolerate my parent's rejection of his proposal" says Irum, "Even today, I cannot forget the crooked smile on his face, as he ran off". Brought to the hospital by a passer-by, Irum woke up in hospital, "I asked my mother for a mirror, but she said there was nothing left look at". When Musarrat Misbah, the owner of a Beauty Salon, met another victim, she decided to take action. Her foundation, Smile Again, is designed to bring hope to these women by providing them with the means to undergo reconstructive surgery and moral support. Because the victims endure, "Not just physical, even stronger is the inner pain, the unbearable pain". Musarrat travels throughout Pakistan to meet not only victims, but also other Pakistanis, trying to gain insight into the cause of such a devastating issue. In educated circles there is a firm desire to tackle the problem. Author Faryal Ali Gohar maintains, "If this could be a nation where the rights that are granted to men and women by the constitution and religious texts were understood, then we would be happier". A primitive male dominant culture combined with Sharia law has left some parts of Pakistani society convinced they have a right to brutalise women for any perceived sleight. However, Musarrat is committed to get these women standing on their feet again. Nashreem Sharif who lost her sight when her face was burnt with acid at the age of 15, is one of just many women who have benefited from her help. Both shocking and heart-breaking, this documentary shows not only the atrocious injustices that some women are subjected to in Pakistan, but also the beauty behind the scarred faces of these women who have only one wish: to put the past behind and smile again.
Starring Irum Saeed
Director Milt Alvarez