A View from Pakistan: "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer" Produced by V-Day Activist Nighat Rivizi
In November, Eve traveled to Pakistan for premiere production of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer in Islamabad, produced, directed, and organized by longtime V-Day activist and original V-Day Pakistan organizer Nighat Imran Rizvi. Nighat is founder of AMAL a youth-focused HIV/ AIDS action group that is one of the most visible advocates for prevention, treatment and awareness in Pakistan. AMAL, which means action in Urdu, is part of a network of 1,200 non-governmental and community-based organizations, engaging with a number of important related issues in the course of tackling the HIV/AIDS problem.
Following is Nighat’s update on the visit:
On November 14, in spite of security threats and the umbrella of violence hanging heavy over the city, Islamabad hosted a production of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. Despite the prevailing sense of insecurity, despite the looming threat that anytime, anywhere, but especially at a public function in a public place, a bomb could go off, the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) saw a full house. Despite all this, twenty people got on stage to deliver monologues on violence against women and girls that were poignant, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, evocative, and sometimes frightening. Monologues that moved the public into realization and action.
Twenty people, ranging in age from sixteen to sixty; including women and men from the United States, the Middle East, and Europe, got on stage, and delivered twenty different but inherently identical messages addressing violence against women, to a rapt, attentive audience of over four hundred people.
And despite everything, the suicide bombers, the warnings not to go and the Islamic fundamentalists and the taboos surrounding vaginas, when Eve took to the stage to read her piece: “Fur is Back,” the audience was enraptured. Although she was talking about violence and war and rage and humiliation, she knows that laughter is important too, that it’s useless to simply lose yourself in despair. Her audience at the PNCA, on this night of the 14th of November, despite any discomfort they might feel with the subject matter, laughed out loud, they are involved, and through their laughter, recognized that something needs to be done.
-Nighat Imran Rizvi