Inner Beauty

World Press Photo:

The winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband’s house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi’s brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose.

I linked to Jodi’s winning image July last year, which was TIME’s cover for August 2010 edition.

I still ponder about the image and think a lot about it. I kept trying to put myself in Aisha’s shoes, trying to imagine how does it feel to be so violated and helpless, and to have such a tragic loss and still have the courage to stand up and show the world what it means to be strong.

I don’t see a photograph of a girl without a nose. I see beauty, courage, humility, forgiveness, acceptance, surrender and truth. A truth that no matter bitter, or dark, or cruel, is still a truth that one must face and own. And that truth will take us back to where we belong.

The valour extends to the editorial room in TIME magazine for taking such bold risks publishing it as cover, and the World Press Photo Jury team for eventually choosing as World Press Photo 2011 Photo of The Year.

Congratulations, Jodi, this win is not only for you, but also for journalism, and the world’s fight against violence.

Here’s the rest of the winning images and listen to Jodi’s account about the photo.