Date: September 2003
Duration: 3 hours 35 minutes
The startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds
Born in Britain, Saira Shah was inspired by her father's dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears knew for 900 years within sight of orchards, snow-topped mountains, and the minarets of Kabul. This is Saira -- part sophisticated and sensitive Western liberal, part fearless (even fierce) life-gulping Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth, chasing Afghanistan. Saira, at 21, becoming a correspondent at the front during the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then Saira, self-imprisoned in a burqa, risking her life to film Beneath the Veil -- her acclaimed record of the devastation of women's lives by the Taliban. Saira discovering her extended family, discovering a world of gorgeous family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, finding at last the (now war-ravaged) family seat, discovering at last what she wants and what she rejects of her compelling heritage.