Two women refuse to be silenced and underestimated in male-dominated Afghanistan. Nilofar Ibrahimi, one of the few female members of parliament, and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail have to survive in a country where ‘patriarchy is over the top’. Both do so with incredible strength and independence, but their choices take large personal tolls.
‘We have a responsibility to speak on behalf of every woman,’ says Nilofar Ibrahimi, a successful doctor who became a member of the Afghan parliament. In Facing the dragon by Afghan-American filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi, we see two incredibly strong women taking that responsibility – and paying the price for it.
We follow Nilofar Ibrahimi and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail doing their work in a country where religious fundamentalists have a very strong foothold. Nilofar Ibrahimi takes them on in parliament, trying to ratify a law criminalizing violence against women. But her outspokenness has made her a target of the Taliban, and she is forced to move her children to live with their father in Australia. Nilofar is heartbroken, but refuses to leave her country behind. Shakila is a field reporter for a national television station, critical of both the Afghan government and Taliban forces. After a Taliban suicide bombing in which she was mentioned as a target, she flees Afghanistan with her three children. With smugglers they begin a journey from Istanbul through Europe. Will she ever be able to work as a journalist again?
Facing the Dragon has been selected for the Activist competition and will be screened at Movies that Matter Festival 2019 (22-30 March, The Hague).