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February 5, 2002
6:08 PM   Subscribe

Everybody remembers this girl from the cover of National Geographic c1985 and on the cover of their Best 100 Photos Ever book. Now she's in hiding on the Afghan-Pakistani border believing the CIA are after her when they found out she gave English classes to Bin Laden's daughters. There was already a major hunt for her after the photo came out
posted by Zootoon (16 comments total)

 
What a failure for the press. One of their main jobs and biggest money makers is to commodify individuals and raise them up to the profitable celebrity status. Looks like that model doesn't apply to people who don't want to become western celebrities and actually want to live their lives out in peace. I'm completely embrassed to support a system that is so willing to turn a refugee into a celebrity/poster girl. Journalists have no shame it seems.

I'm not surprised to hear she's paranoid about the US government as well, imagined or real. I'm sure her dealings with westerners so far has been nothing but trouble for her.

Isn't that such a perty picture?
posted by skallas at 6:17 PM on February 5, 2002


The National Geographic server must not be much, can not reach the site.

Interesting article. I would probably disappear into the hills too, if I thought the CIA were after me.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:28 PM on February 5, 2002


"Looks like that model doesn't apply to people who don't want to become western celebrities and actually want to live their lives out in peace."

She has perhaps strived for peace in her life, but she does so in a war-torn land. Admittedly my opinion is painfully tainted by Western influences, but she would have lived a more peaceful life on the talkshow circuit. She wants to be left alone perhaps, but one thing is for sure: because she ran away from such trite celebrity, this woman has chosen not to live her life out in peace.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:01 PM on February 5, 2002


it's all so meta-media.
posted by goneill at 7:04 PM on February 5, 2002


As a young girl, her eyes spoke of the suffering of a nation.

she's like the lion of kabul :) i hope the cia don't get her!
posted by kliuless at 7:20 PM on February 5, 2002


Yeah Zach, the talk show circuit is paradise isn't it? Someone who doesn't even speak English is going to be pulled away from their family and society to be the 15 minute bauble of gaping westerners who never equated refugee with "hot" before?

You can play with semantics all day, but my use of the word of peace is fitting. Speaking of semantics, "a war torn land" is a major generalization. I worked with someone from Pakistan who was dying to get back there because she didn't want to stay in the US because of its culture and because of family. I think it takes a lot of arrogance to assume that everyone is a westerner but they just dont know it.
posted by skallas at 7:25 PM on February 5, 2002


skallas: how does someone who dosn't speak english teach english to bin-laden's daughters? You did read the artical, didn't you? Why do you think she's afraid of the CIA?

Speaking of which... Bin Laden had his daughters educated?
posted by delmoi at 8:16 PM on February 5, 2002


Sadly, I did read it but didn't think of that when posting. I don't think that takes away from my point that not everyone wants or cares about the western way of life or wants to be a flavor of the month celebrity.
posted by skallas at 8:20 PM on February 5, 2002


She is hot, though.
posted by bingo at 11:17 PM on February 5, 2002


hot?

STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER AND GO OUT.
MEET PEOPLE.
posted by Frasermoo at 12:48 AM on February 6, 2002


bingo -
I wouldn't say she's hot... but definitely on the high-end of the scale... of course, all we've ever seen is a face.

Actually, I think it's her eyes that are stunning.
posted by presto at 4:55 AM on February 6, 2002


Here's an online gallery, including the photo of the girl, by Steve McCurry, the original photographer. Many of the pics are just as stunning, but those eyes...
posted by Zootoon at 5:56 AM on February 6, 2002


When I first saw this photograph on the cover of the National Geographic, it made a young and very naive immigrant boy marvel at how these Americans knew all about the mysterious and beautiful people in this really huge world.

And years later, seeing the same photograph again is what makes this article so sad for me.
posted by DaShiv at 7:04 AM on February 6, 2002


I'm sure her dealings with westerners so far has been nothing but trouble for her.

Really? Do you have anything to base this conjecture on?

I wonder how her dealings with the school she attended were. From the linked article:

"According to them, Alam Bibi learned English at a school in Peshawar funded by a Western aid organisation."

From what I read, there is no objective evidence that would suggest that Westerners have been "nothing but trouble" for this girl. Unless you've read something else that does suggest this, your statement appears to be grounded on nothing more than a (misguided?) case of Western guilt.
posted by syzygy at 7:30 AM on February 6, 2002


It's one of the most beautiful and haunting images I've ever seen but that girl does not exist anymore. . .and the woman she became should be left alone by the CIA, and the western media, to live out her life.

Or maybe she could do a Letterman or Hollywood Squares appearance then fade back into obscurity. . .
posted by Danf at 7:37 AM on February 6, 2002


Nothing, it seems, stays lost forever. Not when the planet continues to shrink, anyway. Some things should stay lost; this girl, if she's still alive, has her own life and problems, and doesn't need to be made into some icon of Afghan suffering for our clip-art media understanding. It was one photo, representing but an instant of her life, and I wish we could leave it at that.

I liked the story better with its old mystery ending.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2002


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