01 Jun A Long Way From Degradation (Wall Street Journal)

Shame film by Mohammed Naqvi“A captivating study in political embarrassment

In the summer of 2002, in a remote village in Pakistan, 30-year-old Mukhtaran Mai endured gang rape, an “honor” punishment sanctioned by her village’s tribal council. A retribution by no means unusual in her society, this one — the subject of the remarkable Showtime documentary “Shame,” airing Wednesday, 6:15 to 8 p.m. EDT — was meted out in punishment for crimes allegedly committed by her brother.

This victim’s response to degradation failed to follow the usual path. Like many women so dishonored, Mukhtaran Mai tried to commit suicide by drinking acid — an exercise that not only failed to kill her, but filled her, instead, with a life-giving fury. Early in the film she is shown heavily veiled, but as the narrative proceeds — as she succeeds in finding a measure of justice and becomes, along the way, world renowned for her struggle — that veil is removed, to reveal a woman of delicate beauty and one by no means abashed by lack of experience as she moves among the powerful and influential…”

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