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Abir Abdullah

took this photo on World Women’s Day, 8 March 2004. It shows survivors of acid attacks. Such attacks are still made against women who are accused of violating social codes. Here they are staging an ‘awareness drama’. Amra aar eka noi (‘We Are Not Alone’) was written and performed by survivors. Their dreams have been shattered, their faces and bodies charred by a liquid fire – acid. But their indomitable courage and will-power to rebuild their lives and move forward is strengthened by everyone telling them they are not alone. All the performers use masks, but at the end of the drama they take the masks from their faces and introduce themselves to the audience. They are so emotional. I took the photo to show this emotion, which I think is very difficult to describe unless you have felt it yourself.

Abir Abdullah
Bangladesh
By arrangement with
Drik Picture Library Ltd

Abir Abdullah

‘PLAYING badminton at this age and with my disability is difficult,' says Zenat Ara Begum, ‘but it's fun anyway.'

She has a special gold medal from the Bangladesh Olympics Association. They organized the first Sports Day for disabled freedom fighters – especially for those in wheelchairs – at Mirpur Stadium in Dhaka, after 32 years of independence.

I knew Zenat but hadn't found an opportunity to talk to her before this Sports Day. She was very excited and curious as she was the only female war veteran to take part.

The gallery of the big stadium was empty and it was evening when I took this shot of her playing badminton.

Thousands of women who took part in the war against Pakistan in 1971 are not recognized as war veterans. My aim is to introduce them to a new generation.

Abir Abdullah Bangladesh

Drik Picture Library Ltd

Abir Abdullah

This photograph of Farid Miah in the arms of his wife Nowshin Akhtar in front of their house in Mirpur, Dhaka, was taken in 1998. It is from one of my ongoing projects, Freedom Fighters: Veterans of the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971. One of the main reasons for doing the project was to introduce the veterans to the younger generation. The history of liberation has been told in many different ways, but all of them to suit people in power. So it is difficult to understand the truth from any textbook or formal publication. The younger generation has no notion of what happened in 1971.

I work at the Drik Picture Library in Bangladesh as a photojournalist. I will shortly be going to Tanzania to work as a photojournalist and trainer in a photography school we are starting there.

Abir Abdullah [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]?Subject=Your%20Southern%20Exposure%20piece%20in%20NI%20352)

Drik Picture Library Ltd